With increasing coverage of LGBT parents in the media today, it is surprising LGBT grandparents are still largely invisible. I suspect this has much to do with the frequent media focus on lesbian couples with cute little tots or funny stories about finding sperm, or, for occasional variety, gay men searching for surrogates. The idea that LGBT people have been having kids long enough to become grandparents is foreign to most people, as is the concept of anyone coming out after having kids.
Alice Fisher and Michael Connolly of the Stonewall Communities Lifelong Learning Institute, the first LGBT LLI in the world, hope to change that. They ran a course in 2007 for LGBT grandparents, and wrote up their experiences for this month’s The Older LEARNer, a publication of the American Society on Aging. They discuss the changing role of grandparents in today’s society as well as particular issues for LGBT grandparents. One positive excerpt:
For the most part, we have not found the issue of how and when to come out to grandchildren to be a big issue for the youngest generation. We are open and low-key. . . . Grandchildren help choose—or invent—terms of endearment for the nonbiological grandparent. Can grandchildren keep track of five or seven grandparents? Yes, we found. Better than we can.
It’s a good article on a topic that deserves more recognition. I’ll be bringing you more voices of LGBT grandparents, in cooperation with Stonewall Communities, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.