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 hesitate to share their true identity with loved ones out of fear of being rejected and judged. But as it turns out, Simon’s grandparents were more than accepting of the fact that he’s a gay man.
In fact, they even wrote him an email to let him know!
The Nottingham Evening Post Magazine featured the story in which Simon shared the details of his coming out to his family seven years ago. His grandparents, Jill and Bill, heard about the write-up but were surprised to know that he had come out as gay, and they were never told 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.
However, they figured it was hidden from them because other family members would assume they would be disappointed. 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 also made it a point to assure Simon that they loved him as much as they always did.
“In fact, I had already worked it out for myself (Gran), but Grandpa didn’t know. Don’t worry. You are still the same Simon to us this news alters nothing. We want you to know that you are still our grandson and we love you just the same. 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 with a friend when he read the letter on his phone.
“My friend was like are you OK? You look in shock. 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. It soon went viral after Simon shared it, with his post garnering 49.7K likes and 1,683 retweets as of this 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.
Aside from the content of the email, which was touching in itself, Simon felt that the way they chose to tell him was very thoughtful.
Instead of calling him or telling him in person, they wrote an email so they could think their words through. It also gave Simon the chance to digest the message.
“I’m sure it was an email they had deliberated a long time,” he said. “It came across so nicely.”
Simon hopes that by sharing his experience, he can inspire other people struggling to come out to their friends and family.
“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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