Ami, I love your post. You say exactly what so many feel. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know so many gay people. They are just like any person. Struggling with love, jobs, life, everything that heterosexuals have to deal with. They are just normal people that happen to have sexual feelings for the same sex. They fall in love with the same sex. It is not in their control, that's the way they are wired.
It's so accepted here. No one blinks an eye. Almost every female I know has a very close gay male friend, and sometimes they are more accepting, have bigger hearts, and can spend endless hours talking about your new bad haircut than your closest girlfriend. They cry over your bad relationships, and only ask that you cry over theirs. They have a hard time! Even though they want legitimacy, they still cannot validate themselves as honest to god married couples. Even in a place that the Mayor has gone out on a political limb to validate them, internally they know that it is not viewed this way in society. So they live in this bubble of acceptance, in cities that accept their plight. And the rest of middle America thinks they are evil. It's very difficult for them.
I have a very close gay friend who has moved to the other side of the country. He's had a hard time finding love. He told me the other day not to despair. If my husband were to predecease me, that he would be there for me, help me through it, stay with me until the end. That I could always depend on him. He would keep me from wearing bad Chiffon when I got older. Even if he was with someone, they would just have to accept me as the down and out sister that needed refuge. It almost made me cry.
I have found more love and acceptance from my gay friends, than from any other female friends. So, yes, I am biased, totally.
I was so struck my the story of your great grandmother. She was a very lucky woman, and probably had great comfort and friendship until the end. I totally get that.
I hope that someday my friend can legitimize his relationship. I hope that he will feel entitled to all the freedoms and civil laws available to all other heterosexuals. They need this. Let the healing begin.
I know that the only reason people cannot accept them is that they look at them, and immediately have a visual image of two people of the same sex having sex. It is human nature. Sex makes people uncomfortable. Gay people bring that out like a canker sore. All you can think about with gay people are sex, because that is the only thing that makes them different from heterosexuals. SEX. Very powerful stuff.
After awhile the word doesn't even look that scary.