- Dear Ann Landers: I am 65 years old and the eldest sibling of five
Section: family, aging, relationships, sexuality

Dear Margo,
I am 65 years old and the eldest sibling of five. This is my problem: My younger brother, Bill (number 3) came out of the closets a gay man about ten years ago. This didn't surprise me, I had suspected it for quite a while. All my family want our father to know, and I am against it. Our father is 87, raised in a small town all his life, and would be devastated to learn that he has a gay son. Bill seems to be indifferent. When Bill does visit, he leaves his partner home, which is out of state, and the family acts as if everything is normal. Dad is happy and I want him to stay that way. We all love and support Bill, but I need some advice on how to handle this with my siblings. - Concerned son

Dear Concerned,
I don't think Dad's age is the determinant here. Rather, it would be his attitude. Since there are five of you, has anyone ever heard him express an opinion on the subject? If not, maybe one of you could suss him out in a casual conversation about his views on same-sex partnerships. I agree that 87 is pretty up there to suddenly learn your son is gay, and that his small town history would support your position of not wanting to tell Dad. However, the key thing I derive from your letter is that Bill doesn't care one way or the other. I find it interesting that the majority of the sibs are pushing to out Bill to a very elderly man. I can't quite figure out why. Given Bill's indifference, and his partner's support in staying home during visits to dad, if I had to vote one way or the other, I'd vote with you.
- Margo

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

normadesmond's Comment
I always wanted to come out to my grandparents. Their daughter, my aunt, who is gay, forbade me. She did her best to throw them off the track, but felt my admission would shine the spotlight on her. Grandparents are now long gone. We've since learned that Grandpa knew who his butch daughter was. I just know he knew who is sissy grandson really was! Grandma was naive and simple. They might not have like hearing it, but they should've.

Joe's Comment
It's up to Bill and his partner.

Renault's Comment
No one gets to decide how someone else comes out or when or why then. The family needs to sit the hell down. This isn't their news.

Been There's Comment
Coming out of the closet is a misnomer. The action should really be allowing others into your closet. Of course, the closet is only so big so at some point you and your friends will no longer fit in the closet, but the same feeling exist. If a gay person wants to let others know about his/her sexuality, it should be up to them to tell. If Bill is feeling indifferent about telling his grandfather, others should respect that.

MEGFS's Comment
Still trying to be the oldest and control what others are doing? Stop, just stop. Let them run their own lives. Yes, it is possible that your father will be upset. Let this be up to Bill and his partner to handle. Either way it turns out, keep "I told you so" in the closet.

MEGFS's Comment
Still trying to be the oldest and control what others are doing? Stop, just stop. Let them run their own lives. Yes, it is possible that your father will be upset. Let this be up to Bill and his partner to handle. Either way it turns out, keep "I told you so" in the closet.

K's Comment
I'm sorry to be cynical but as someone who went through an older generation fighting over the will of a sibling with no family left but them, it sounds like the other siblings who want to out their brother are thinking dad might disown him and they will in turn get a larger piece of the pie. If he has been out for 10 years and doesn't bring his partner to see dad then let him live his life as he pleases. It's none of your business and he has to answer to God, not you.

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"Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good."
-Ann Landers