Grandma's Dementia Made Her Forget Her Homophobia
After watching how my family treated my lesbian mom, I assumed it would all repeat when I came out. But as my grandma’s memory faded, her disapproval of gay people vanished too.
Illustrations by Erick M. Ramos
I sat on the shag carpeting in my grandma’s basement near her vintage Pac-Man arcade game, watching my cousins whip the joystick around, trying to beat the record so they could leave the initials A-S-S on the system’s high-score board. When a ghost caught up with Pac-Man, my cousins screamed, but I was more invested in the yelling echoing from the floor above us. I quietly crept over to the basement staircase, trying my best to hear what was happening in the kitchen. My mom was up there with Uncle Jay and Grandma, and they didn’t sound happy.
“I didn’t raise you to be this way,” I heard Grandma say. “What are you going to tell your kids?”
“My kids love me,” my mom said, her voice strained like it used to get when she fought with my dad.
“Listen, Denise,” Uncle Jay said, ruffling through some papers. “Take a look at these. It’s a conference that many women who think they’re lesbians have attended. It’s helped them change their lifestyle, and it’s here in Mic…