I have an older cousin I always admired growing up, and our families have always been close. But he’s gotten progressively more religious (Catholic) over the years, while I’m gay and trans. He and his wife haven’t cut me off or anything, but they’re figuring out how to appropriately shelter their two young kids from those things about me. While I miss my cousin and this hurts, I would be mostly fine with having minimal contact, except I really love my nieces and nephews. And they really love me! The oldest is 5, and even when I haven’t seen the kids in over a year, they still remember me and ask to see me. I don’t know how I could stay in contact with them while talking to their parents as little as possible. Should I talk to my cousin and try to arrange video chats (supervised, probably) with the kids, even if that’s awkward and sad? Do I have a responsibility to stay in touch with them just in case one of them is queer and needs a role model? Or, should I just pull back now and let them forget about me, so it doesn’t hurt as much when they get older and learn to be homophobic? Pulling back would make me sad, but I’m afraid the alternative would be too painful.
—The Gay Cousin