Dear Miriam, I am writing to you with the hope that you will share my story with your readers. My granddaughter is a bright, cheerful young woman who always has a kind word for me and everyone she meets. She is supportive and helpful and loyal to those she holds dear. She has a good job, is self-sufficient, has good friends and is popular within our family and beyond.

At Christmas she was staying with me and we were having a grand time one of the nights, playing cards, when she confided in me that she was gay. It came as a shock to me at first, but that soon passed. The only concern I had after that was if she could have children in the future somehow, as she would be a fabulous mother. She assured me she could if she chose to do that as there are options available to same-sex couples.

She was not looking forward to telling her mum. I assured her it would be OK. If I could accept the news, surely her mum could too? How wrong I was.

One week after she shared her truth with me, she sat her parents down to tell them and her mother went absolutely mad. She shouted at her, she called her every name under the sun, she slapped her hard across the face and of course she cried, but not before she told her own daughter to get out of the house and stay gone. This woman is my own daughter and I am ashamed to admit it.

Since the incident, my granddaughter has told other family members and they have all been extremely supportive, as are her pals. But her mother hasn’t spoken to her since. Her father has alright, but he has only seen her once. But at least he has seen her. My granddaughter has lost so much weight in the past few months and her sparkle doesn’t arrive with her any more. I am praying constantly for a thaw in her mother’s heart but as yet my prayers have gone unheard.

I beg parents out there to be supportive of your children. With all the talk on mental health issues, have you not learned anything? They tell us to talk to the people we trust if we are burdened. Surely this means parents as well as friends and siblings (and grandmothers). Keep the lines of communication open – it is so important. And if, like my daughter, you suffer from a closed mind, then open it.

My granddaughter deserves every bit of happiness that God has planned for her and I hope that one day she will meet a loving, kind, caring young woman who will make her smile every day of her life. She has done nothing wrong. She is simply having the courage to be who God wanted her to be.

Worried Grandmother.

Dear Worried Grandmother, how blessed is your granddaughter to have a grandmother like you, who simply loves and accepts her as her most perfect self? As difficult as these last few months have been, I’m certain that your support and care have meant so much to her. While parents can understandably experience a range of emotions when their child comes out, this situation is particularly sad.

Your daughter is perhaps grieving the life she had in mind for your granddaughter, but by refusing to see or speak with her, risks losing her completely. You are so right about the importance of keeping communication open. Even if your daughter is struggling with her daughter’s sexuality, it is important to remember that this is just one aspect of her whole self and she is still the shining light she always has been.

I think your daughter would benefit from some counselling, though whether she can be convinced is another question. Your frustration is palpable, but it might be worth considering that she, too, is hurting in her own way, and approaching further communication with her with that in mind.

Given the toll this is taking on your granddaughter and indeed yourself, it might also benefit you to seek some support. Gay Switchboard Ireland supports members of the LGBT community and their family and friends with everything from a confidential telephone helpline to family groups. Call 01-872 1055 or visit

But once again, I just want to say how lucky your granddaughter is to have such a loving grandmother. I hope that together you can help find her sparkle again, and that she will have all the love and happiness she deserves. CL