- 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

What do you think? (or ask a question?)

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.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass."
-Ann Landers