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Gay Man's 90-Year-Old Grandfather Comes Out Before Death

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A 90-year-old World War II vet who was married to a woman for 65 years, came out to his gay grandson five months before his death. His grandson, artist Grant Rehnberg is telling his grandfather's story via an art installation, "The Family Connection."

Check it out!

Rehnberg writes:

We buried my Grandpa Jim one month ago.  

Baptist pastor, World War II veteran (218th Counter Intelligence Corps), preceded in death by Grandma Doris, his wife of sixty-five years.  

Five months ago, Grandpa Jim told me he is gay. 

Sitting over photos of my husband Bradford and I at our wedding, my ninety-year-old grandfather proudly celebrated “the balls it takes” to live openly.  He told me about the love of his life, Warren Johnson, a boy he played music with at church.  He told me God loves every part of us.  He told me he would trade places with me if he could.  He told me he loved me.  

I put picture of Bradford and me in his suit coat pocket and a red rose on his coffin.

The Family Connection examines my relationship with this complicated man.  

Rehnberg is currently raising funds for "The Family Connection." If you'd like to contribute head over to his Indiegogo page to help!

 

(H/T: Towleroad)

Comments

Some people use 'queer' as a non-derogatory descriptive. Personally, I would never use it because it was derogatory for far too long. The connotation back then was that there was something inherently negative with being different. I am a man. If anyone calls me anything else, they risk getting punched in their ugly face.

I totally agree with

Glenn Boyd - March 10, 2014

"While 'queer' is not how I'd describe myself as a gay man, if Grant wants to describe himself as that, then who am I to tell him he's wrong? It's sad we give such importance to labels; I'm sure there'd be less wars and hate in the world if we stopped forcing labels onto others."

Everyone is an individual and should be seen as such and we shouldn't try to force people into one category or another. There are lots of gray areas between black and white. The same is true with humans.

I dislike all of the bickering that goes on within our LGBTQ community and I find that pretty sad. We should support everyone and allow them to get happy just the way they are and want to be.

What I loved about the video is how lovingly the artist held on to the picture of his grandfather and how proudly he talked about him. That the grandfather hid all of these years in a life that probably didn't fulfill him totally is beside the point. What matters is that the artist Grant Rehnberg felt loved by his grandfather.

Some people might say that the grandfather lived a lie, but the truth is that we don't know that. He might have been happy raising a family? We have gay couples raise families these days but that was not possible in those days. At least he had a chance to share with his grandson that he identified as Gay and didn't take the secret into his grave.

While 'queer' is not how I'd describe myself as a gay man, if Grant wants to describe himself as that, then who am I to tell him he's wrong? It's sad we give such importance to labels; I'm sure there'd be less wars and hate in the world if we stopped forcing labels onto others.

In many ways, I've always found the term Queer to be an umbrella term for the weak and mediocre, those who feel marginalized, and just aren't happy about it.
The weak and mediocre are quick to disagree (in a herd), pointing out heroes of theirs who conform to the label and look of queerness (oh no...  I said conform, please don't beat me queers).

That said, I'm not being critical of these people in and of who they are, but I do have a serious issue when bar queers try to gang up on me to educate me on my queerness. (This happens quite often, oddly enough).
But I didn't grow up weak and marginalized, I'll fight anyone, I don't have tattoos covering 40% of my body, I don't sport a bushy beard, and I don't think fat is sexy.
The bar queers are usually quite surprised that I don't budge on these, but there you have it.

Be queer, have 7 spirits, identify as Klingon, call yourself some gender neutral name to confuse everyone, I couldn't care less, but stop trying to rope me in to your club.

I am a strong, gay man - my life is golden, and there is nothing queer about that.

*and breathe*

Also, I have to say, deconstructing a book, and pulling one apart are 2 different things.

So you two are saying you aren't normal?  Wow.  When are you joining the homophobes?

I'm with you, Joseph.  I will never refer to myself with any derogatory term and woe betide anybody that does when referring to me.

Cheers.

I am QUEER.  Nothing about my personality, nor my sexuality is normal.  I deviate from the norm.  Call me QUEER or a DEVIANT, but ugh - gay or normal, not me!

We are many things as gay people ... normal ... Is not one of them. I'm all for queer if it's how YOU identify yourself

It's nice that his grandfather came out to him, but does Grant have to refer to himself as queer. It disgusts me when a gay person refers to themselves as queer! We are normal just like everyone else. We just happen to like the same sex. Then he made a comment about his grandfathers queerness. His grandfather wasn't queer, he was just gay! Just plain stupid, quit using that word !!

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