We met Jeffrey and Jon on the Story Tour just a few days before Jeffrey’s grandmother, who’s mentioned in the story, came to visit. As they explain in the video, Indian culture and attitudes towards LGBT people are quite different than American culture so I was dying to know what happened when she visited. Continue Reading to read an email from Jeffrey informing me how the night went, along with a photo.
The long and short of it is, Jon came with me to our family dinner (kids and spouses) with Dadi (Grandma). Jon was clearly my companion at dinner. Not much was said to highlight us in particular but more than anything we were accepted and not questioned (which is the greatest gift in my mind in ANY relationship). She came to our house, got the tour, then plotted my marriage to an Indian woman for when I was ‘ready’…HAHAHAHA!
I’m Jonathan Bass, and I’m from Salt Lake. I’m Jeffrey Daniels and I’m from Carlsbad, New Mexico. (Jeffrey) We met actually, probably around 2005. Actually January of 2005. I myself was going to BYU. Brigham Young University which is an LDS college and he was living in Salt Lake City already out and so that’s kind of where it all began. (Jonathan) We were dating for a few months when I decided to introduce him to my family. My family’s close, just twenty-five minutes away. South of us here. His family’s far, in New Mexico, he was constantly getting calls from his mom in the middle of the night. (Jeffrey) “Are you experimenting with ecstasy!” Have you been watching – what have you been watching on TV, come on?! (Jonathan) We weren’t in constant communication with her. She wouldn’t see Jeff, so she didn’t know me, so she would always assume the worst. (Jeffrey) The worst. Like what she sees on TV. I think meeting his family was really grounding for me. Because I was like, “Wow, families exist? Friendships exist? It’s not a bad thing? And actually, it’s amazing when you click like that. Which was different for me – because even, my dad’s from India and even last year, we went to India and my dad asked me – and I’ve had a couple of requests in the past, like when my brother gets married to change my hair. He wasn’t invited to the wedding. “You can’t bring someone with you but please change your hair.” (Jonathan) I hadn’t met his family. I hadn’t met his dad at the time. (Jeffrey) Not dad. And my dad’s really conservative. Obviously from India, so different culture, and so of course, Jon wasn’t invited so I didn’t change my hair. I didn’t think that was a problem. But then last year we went to India to visit my family there, and grandmas, and aunties, uncles and cousins. And out of respect I did just go neutral color on my hair, but my dad asked me to not mention Jon. And mom’s parents are from the south and her dad was completely against her getting married to my dad because he was black. He wasn’t black, he’s from India, but he had dark skin and he didn’t go to their wedding because he didn’t support it. And so in the same way I feel like a generation later, I am taking a step to be honest for myself. To find happiness on my own. And also, to bring my family into it too. Because that’s what families are for. Then I hit the same barrier that they did a generation before but in a different category. (Jonathan) Jeff’s dad had all these preconceptions of what his life was and when he came here. Came to our house. And met me, and saw what we were like together as a couple, as people – he was like, “Oh, okay, they’re okay.” (Jeffrey) A little sigh of relief. I talked to my parents on Sunday and Monday an my dad’s like “We’re coming to visit you. Maybe Thursday or Friday.” I’m like, Thursday or Friday?! Okay, start cleaning the house now. (laugh) Get rid of things, no! But my Grandma from India who’s 90 is coming too and so I think it’s going to be an interesting experience for her to come. I am not going to not let Jon – he lives here, this is his house too. So, we’ll be here. And we’ll show them a good time I think. They like simple things too. They like something to eat. Something to drink. Look around. Touch the walls. (laughs) Stuff like that. She’s 90. She appreciates anything. So, it’ll be exciting for her to come over and see what we have. It’s hugely different from India too. I think she’ll be proud. I hope so.