Troy Williams' observations about gay people at family reunions got me thinking about my own family holiday experiences:
My Grandma is hilarious, and I love her. But she's never really been able to grasp the whole "gay" thing. It used to infuriate me, but now it's just amusing because, after all, what are you gonna do? ---
Grandma and Grampa don't put the grandkids on the "grown-up" gift list until after they're married ... so I was still getting toys and board games well into my 20s, while my younger cousins were scoring Kitchenaids and other housewares.
For years, at every family get-together, Grandma would take me aside and ask, "Are you still doing that thing you do?" ... which, translated from Grandmaspeak, meant, "Are you still gay?" Somehow, a happy house full of aunts, uncles, cousins and kids eager for turkey or ham never seemed to be the right setting for me to launch into a discussion about sexual orientation and its relation to identity politics.
One December, my friend Gwen and I were spending a pleasant day running holiday errands, and we stopped by my grandparents' house to visit and drop off some presents. When Grandma laid eyes on Gwen, she got all flustered and, before we even left, she was on the phone with my aunt excitedly whispering, "He's got a girlfriend! And she's here right now!!!"