A Dialogue With My 86-year-old Grandmother About LGBT Rights & Marriage Equality

I saw this article:


earlier this afternoon and I got suddenly curious how my 86yo grandmother felt about marriage equality and LGBT rights. Since she’s often hilarious, I decided to interview her on the phone and post it here. I put it on speakerphone, recorded it, then transcribed it. She’s in Miami, and Cuban-born, so this is translated from Spanish. She’s a pretty feisty lady. I want to be her when I grow up. Here’s what she said:

Me: Grandma, what do you think about this couple in their 90s supporting their gay grandkids in the fight for marriage equality?

Grandma: I think it’s very nice. You have to support your family, no matter who they are. You can’t reject people for things like that.

Me: If you had gay or lesbian family, would you do the same?

Grandma: I don’t know if I could make a video like those people. They speak English.

Me: What about in Spanish? Would you make videos supporting marriage equality in Spanish.

Grandma: Ay… don’t get any ideas. I don’t want to make a video.
Me: But is it okay if I post this on the Internet? On one of my websites
Grandma: Ignorant people might yell at you.
Me: Oh, that’s okay, I don’t mind.
Grandma: Yes, you can put what I said on the Internet.
Me: Okay. So do you support gay and lesbian people getting married?
Grandma: I think gay people should be able to get married. Times have changed. Even my ideas have changed. There used to be a lot of ignorance and rumors about gay people, mostly because they had to live in hiding, you know, you couldn’t be yourself out in public like they can be sometimes now. So I think people just made things up. But think gay people should be allowed to live their lives like everyone else.
Me: Would you go to a gay wedding?
Grandma: Yes, I would. It would probably be more lively than a regular one. I hate weddings. They’re so boring.
Me: They really are. What do you think about people who protest gay marriage?
Grandma: Oh. Idiots.
Me: They’re wrong?
Grandma: Idiots. Dumb people with nothing better to do. Out of all the things to protest. They should be out trying to do some good in the world instead.
Me: Do you think you would have felt the same way when you were my age?
Grandma: (Pauses) I don’t think I gave it any thought. People didn’t talk about these things back then. There was a lot of ignorance. Everybody knew gay people, of course, but people didn’t talk about it in normal conversation, much less in public like on the news now. I think that’s good. Talking is always good. When people know things, they can make up their own minds.I would like to think that maybe with a little information and thinking about it, I would feel the same way.
Me: Do you think gay people should be able to adopt kids?
Grandma: Of course.
Me: As a Christian, what do you think the Bible says about gay people?
Grandma: The Bible is very clear that Jesus doesn’t care about race or gender or where you came from or anything. He loves everyone.
Me: What about the parts of the Bible that says gay people should be stoned to death?
Grandma: We don’t stone people to death anymore…
Me: So you don’t think that applies?
Grandma: I think God gave us some common sense to be able to figure out what parts were meant for forever, like “don’t kill” and “don’t steal” and “be good to people,” and what parts were just a record of the society people lived in back then. We don’t hide women in the dark during their periods anymore, either. Things like that.
Me: What about gays in the military? Do you think that should be allowed?
Grandma: You know, when I heard President Obama had helped made that legal, I was surprised it already wasn’t. If you’re willing to pick up a gun and go fight in some war somewhere for my freedom, I’m not willing to do that, so if you are, I don’t care if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or fifteen cats.
Me: Yeah, I think most people supported that one.
Grandma: It’s like I told you. God gave us common sense for a reason.
Me: I know you’ve had a few close gay male friends. Have you ever had a lesbian friend?
Grandma: I did in Cuba. She was my neighbor and she did everyone’s hair on the block. You couldn’t really tell she was a lesbian, but she told me, after many years of knowing her.
Me: What do you mean by “you couldn’t tell she was a lesbian?”
Grandma: Well, she was very glamorous. She looked like a movie star all the time – that’s why she did everyone’s hair. Some lesbians, you can tell.
Me: In English, they call the ability to tell if someone’s gay “gaydar.” Like “radar” but for “gay.”
Grandma: Oh! I think I have that.
Me: You think you have good gaydar?
Grandma: Well, I was an artist, so I was around a lot of gay men. And I can usually tell, but Paula fooled me.
Me: The slang term for lesbians who are very conventionally feminine in English is “lipstick lesbian.”
Grandma: She did wear lipstick!
Me: Do you think a lot of older people think like you do?
Grandma: I think so. A lot of older people keep up with the news better than you think. And you get to be my age and you realize a lot of past mistakes in your thinking. You realize that a lot of things you think mattered, really don’t. And the people who don’t think like that, it’s mostly because they don’t know any better. But even at my age, people can be taught.
Me: Thank you, Pupa.
Grandma: You should show me your website when you put this up. I hope a lot of people read it.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.