A 36-year-old grandad has opened up about coming out as gay
A 36-year-old gay granddad has opened up about being best friends with his four-year-old grandson, and about coming out as gay.
Albertino (Tino) Ritualo spoke about being a parent at 14-years-old and then becoming a grandad later at 36.
He also opened up about coming to terms with being gay in a Catholic Filipino household.
Speaking to Gay Star News, he said: “You don’t show or really feel emotion.”
Going on Tino says he was raised by his grandparents from birth but his own grandfather died when he was 12-years-old.
“He was the glue that held us all together and once he passed, my grandmother gave up,” he goes on.
Tino says he was eventually abandoned in Canada by family he didn’t know well and ended up sleeping on friends’ couches.
“I bounced from home to home sleeping on friends’ couches finding food where I could,” Tino says.
He was forced to find food where he could, and eventually met a girl, who became the mother of his two children.
“I met my daughter’s mother through her brother, who was my best friend at the time.
“They weren’t part of the family I was staying with. More so the rebel kids I was running away with,” he adds.
Tino says the same time he discovered he was to be a father, he began to come to terms with being gay.
“Knowing I was different and wanting to provide a different life for my child motivated me to fight for a way out.
“I got myself through school, held a full-time job and took on fatherhood the best I could… without knowing what or who I was supposed to be,” he said.
Eventually, he came out as gay to friends at 19 and later publicly at 21.
Tino later moved to back to Seattle where he started dating a guy.
The couple got married after five years together in Canada, but filed for divorce six years later.
Tino struggled with depression during the divorce and found out that his daughter got pregnant in her senior year at high school.
Saying he felt “terrified”, he said: “I felt it was history repeating.”
“Once my grandson was born though and I held him for the first time, I knew things had to change, I knew I had changed. He pulled me out of that depression I was in by giving me a focus,” he said.
Leo Dean, nearly four years old, is Tino’s grandson, and lives with him along with his daughter Tiyanna and son Dionisio.
Tino says: “With him by my side, I have been facing every fear I’ve had about myself, fatherhood and family.
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“Last year we bought our house and for the first time in a long time – slowly but surely – things are feeling blissfully normal and I owe that to him.”
Of his sexual orientation, Tino says Leo “knows that I like Boys” and… his mom also likes boys.”
“For now, my biggest concern is making sure he just knows he’s loved and surrounded by people who care about him,” he said.
Tino says he is happy as long as Leo is.
He even pretends to be ‘Max the puppy’ since he won’t let Leo have a real dog, and crawls around their happy home.