By Swati Poddar:
Ever since the gay act has been passed in India, a whole lot of people have come out of their shells and admitted their true sexuality. The mind set of the society has also witnessed a huge leap with homosexuality becoming legal. And this change is also observed in the thinking of the parents of these kids.
The acceptability of a gay or lesbian child differs in India and abroad. In India it depends a lot on whether the parents are educated or not. Even though the educated parents might be aghast initially, when the child comes out with the truth about his/her orientation, they understand that it could have happened to anybody, and accept their child. In many metro, urban, smaller cities and rural India, the scenario is totally different. The parents often disown their child or do not want the child to come out with it.
Besides education, another major factor in India that affects the child’s upbringing is the type of family system i.e. whether it is nuclear or a joint family. It has been observed that in nuclear families homosexuality is taken more positively than in joint families. The reason is obvious. Even though the orientation of the child may be acceptable to the parents, it may come as a shock to the grand parents and other elder members of the family, who may not accept it, talk about it, and might even force other kids in the family to keep away.
The change in a parent’s mentality towards the child also differs from one individual to another. While some parents may love their kid all the same, others might discriminate. When I discussed this issue with a gay friend, he told me that his parents had been very understanding and supportive when he admitted the truth about his sexuality. They are more concerned about his safety and well being but when one of his friends had come out with it, the parents had been very dramatic and had thrown the kid out of the house who then spent a week on the streets before they realised their mistakes.
The issue of homosexuality sure affects parents as all their aspirations from their child come to a sudden end. Some parents who cannot fully accept the fact send their child to psychiatrists thinking it is a mental illness (IT IS NOT). Some even force the child into marriage with the opposite sex hoping that it is just a state of mind and that it will pass although, mostly the parents are more confused than the child.
When a child is born he/she does not know anything about his orientation. The parent also loves the child unconditionally till the ideal marriage age, when they start becoming concerned about their kid’s attraction to the opposite sex. It is then, that these young adults come out with the truth about themselves. When the parent hasn’t treated the kid differently yet, then why later? Treating their child differently will not help as eventually they’ll be concerned with the child’s happiness. Sooner or later they will have to accept the truth. It’s best if they let their child be and not impose their wishes on the child, instead, support them.