Simon Crowther, 28, came out to his parents when he was 21 years old, but it wasn’t until a newspaper article published a profile on him that his grandparents found out.
Many LGBTQIA++ members are afraid to reveal their true identity to loved ones for fear of being judged and rejected. But as it turns out, Simon’s grandparents were more than accepting of the fact that he’s a gay man.
They even sent him an email to let them know!
The Nottingham Evening Post Magazine published the story in which Simon revealed details about his coming out to his family seven year ago. Jill and Bill, his grandparents, read about the article and were shocked to learn that Simon had come out as gay. They were never informed about it.
“Hello Simon. We learned from John R when he came round with Grandpa’s birthday present, that there was an excellent article recently, about you and how you built your business, in a Nottingham Evening Post Magazine,” the email began.
They believed it was hidden to protect their family members from disappointment. But as their letter proves, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Apparently, you reported that you had ‘Come Out’ as being gay to your family when you were 21,” the letter continued. “Obviously, it was decided to keep it from us for if it upset us. Don’t worry, we are not upset.”
Jill and Bill made it a point of reassuring Simon that they loved them as much as they had always.
“In fact, I had already worked it out for myself (Gran), but Grandpa didn’t know. Don’t worry. We don’t think this change will alter the fact that you are still Simon to us. We want you to know that we still love you and that you are our grandson. We have not mentioned this to Mum or Jenny, so this message will be as big a surprise to them when you tell them, as it will be to you,” they said.
The proud grandparents ended their sweet letter with a request from Simon—that he email them a copy of the article.
Simon was having coffee at a friend’s house when he saw the letter on his mobile phone.
“My friend was like are you OK? You look shocked. I gave my phone to my friend and he almost started to cry,” he recalled.
Simon said coming out to his “Gran” and “Grandpa” wasn’t something he had ever really planned on doing. He thought he would “cross that bridge” once he had a serious partner or was planning to get married.
However, he clarified that the decision to keep it from his grandparents wasn’t based on his assumption that they might not be comfortable with it. Rather, he just wanted to avoid any “stress or worry.”
The internet couldn’t get enough of the sweet email. Simon shared it and soon it went viral. Simon’s post has received 49.7K Likes and 1,683 Retweets at the time of writing.
Simon, who refers to himself as “The Flood Guy” on Twitter, has plenty of achievements under his belt. He’s a civil engineer specializing in water and flooding who founded his own company, Flood Protection Solutions, in 2012 while he was still in college.
In 2018, Forbes magazine featured his business on its “30 Under 30” list.
And most recently, Attitude, a U.K.-based gay magazine, wrote about Simon’s business and called him a rising LGBTQ+ engineer in the field.
Simon felt that Simon was very thoughtful about the way they chose not to tell him the email.
Instead of calling or writing to him in person they sent an email. This allowed them to think through the words and allow for them to communicate clearly. Simon was able to read the email and digest it.
“I’m sure it was an email they had deliberated a long time,” he said. “It came across so nicely.”
Simon hopes to inspire others by sharing his experiences with them.
“Hopefully it inspires others with the confidence they need to live their true lives,” he said.
Simon has yet to tell his Jill and Bill about the reaction their email has received online and said he is excited to tell them that it has “generated such love across the world.”
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