A 42-year-old man had a 17-year-old niece, who was due to receive significant wealth from her grandfather when he eventually passed away. The grandfather was incredibly wealthy, and therefore his niece would receive approximately $7 million in inheritance.
Coming Out to Her Uncle
The man’s niece had recently come out as a lesbian to him. He expressed his support for her, emphasizing that he would be there for her and was proud of her for being open with him.
Sharing With the World
The niece shared with her uncle that she was ready to tell the world about her sexual orientation and that she would soon be informing her family and friends of her proud decision.
Confronting Family Homophobia
The man revealed that his parents, the grandparents of his niece, held homophobic views and would disinherit any family member who identifies as gay. His father, in particular, has significant wealth, and any gay relative would have their inheritance donated to charity.
Urging Niece to Delay Coming Out
Given his parents’ homophobic stance and their poor health, the man advised his niece to delay coming out publicly. “I told my niece she should stay in the closet for a while longer. If she comes out as a lesbian and they find out, she will quite literally lose out on 7 million dollars”, he explained.
The Niece’s Reaction
Responding to her uncle’s advice, the niece had a mixed reaction. “She was a little sad but was also appreciative since it is obviously a life-changing amount of money that will allow her to live luxuriously until she dies.”
While the man saw this advice as a pragmatic decision to ensure his niece’s financial future, his wife disagreed. She believed that he was asking his niece to hide her true identity to please bigoted family members.
A Tough Decision
The man could see where his wife was coming from and agreed that it was unfair to hide her sexuality for financial sake. However, the man defended himself, claiming that he had seen his father’s will and knew for certain that his niece would be inheriting $7 million.
Reconciliation With His Wife
The man’s wife eventually apologized for her initial reaction, and now agreed that their niece should delay coming out for a year or 2. “She is a powerful advocate of LGBTQ+ rights so she had an angry knee-jerk reaction to my dad’s bigotry”, the man explained.
Complex Moral Dilemma
Despite the man’s wife agreeing with his suggestion, there was still a complex moral dilemma at play. His niece was still sad that she couldn’t come out of the closet, and she felt ready to do so, yet was now torn because of the fortune that would await her if she chose to wait.
Plagued with guilt that he had added significant complications to his niece’s decision, the man headed online to see what other people thought. The man was happy to see readers defending his advice: “You’re just advising her, not forcing her. She still gets to choose.”
Many other readers agreed with this perspective. One person wrote: “You didn’t tell her she can’t come out, just that she should wait so she benefits later. I imagine she’s more likely to regret being written out of 7 million dollars rather than waiting to come out.”
A Complicated Ethical Problem
The dilemma that the niece faced had many readers scratching their heads. “Oh God, I’m torn”, wrote one commenter. “This is honestly an excellent case study for an ethics class. My gut instinct is to say that you should never encourage someone to stay in the closet longer than they want to, but yeesh, that’s a life-changing amount of money.”
Revenge Against Homophobes
However, one person chimed in that keeping things quiet could be the ultimate revenge against homophobia: “For ethical reasons think of it this way: she stays in the closet for the next couple years, inherits the money of a homophobe, then once she has the inheritance have a nice gay life and not have to worry about her homophobic grandparents bothering her for who she loves.”
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