Andrew, in his own words: “One thing that I regret is completely blowing an opportunity to come out to my grandmother, despite the fact that she totally opened the door for me to do so. When I was about 15 years old she took me to a restaurant in Portland known for its original mid century modern interior. She took me there because she knew I wanted to study architecture and because she had been friends with the architect who designed it. I recall her saying something to the effect of, “You know, (so-and-so) was a really nice man and a very talented architect. I think you could make really wonderful things just like he did. He was also gay. People are born that way and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. Just look at what he was able to do.” I sort of panicked and nodded my head and said nothing. She must have sensed that I wasn’t ready to talk about it, so she smiled and we moved on to something else. It’s only looking back on that conversation now that I realize how fortunate I was to have a grandparent in the 90s who was both accepting of gay people and forthright with their opinions on homosexuality. Didn’t seem like much at the time, but I guess it was.
She died while I was living abroad in college and I wasn’t able to attend the funeral, which was rough. And I know there’s not much to be done, but I wish I could tell her that I was pretty alright with being gay fairly early on because of a conversation that she and I never really had to begin with. The little story about her friend the architect was, I guess, all I needed to hear.”