This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ishita Trikha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Dear Conservative Adults, It’s Time To Shed Your Prejudice And Become LGBTQ Allies

Dear conservative adults,

I understand that some of you probably are confused, scared, and scandalised about the recent development in law. Social norms in our society have dictated your upbringing, and as a person of a certain age and calibre, it feels like you’re losing control, as your morals and belief system are being challenged. But weren’t we always also told something along the lines of, “We learn something new everyday” or “Learning is a life long process”?

Some of the most common things that I have heard from you are given below. I will attempt to convey my ideas, research and core beliefs underneath.

‘I’m Old-Fashioned, And It’s Unnatural’

This doesn’t play out anymore. You’re not too old-fashioned to use Skype to talk to your kids, have the latest technology of everything, and embrace various machinery that helps you get things done faster. You live in a concrete house. You take medicines, go through medical procedures that keep you healthy and alive. All of that is ‘unnatural’. If you have a problem with unnatural things, then I suggest you go live in the woods, in a hunter-gatherer way of living, and stop reaping the benefits of the scientific progress that we have made so far.

‘Okay, But I’m Too Old To Change Now’

Hold on. Most people become more religious as they age, learning about spirituality, and God, and all the works. You definitely weren’t religious when you were younger, but you are now. You changed. You challenged years of your own belief. Yes. You did. Again, a shoddy excuse.

‘Exactly! My Religion…’

The word “religion” comes from Latin and while there are a few different translations, the most prevalent roots take you back to the Latin word “Re-Ligare”. “Ligare” means “to bind” or to “connect”.  Adding the “re” before “ligare” causes the word to mean “Re-Bind” or “Re-Connect. The point of all religion is to unify people together, to bring peace and harmony, for people to accept themselves and others, and to find purpose. How does hating on queer people unify you, or bring peace or harmony, or bring you to accept yourself or others, or give you a purpose? If anything, it causes segregation. Think about it.

Section 377 Supreme Court unanimously decriminalises homosexualityI want you to remember that religious texts have many translations and interpretations. It is common that one person’s version of, say, Hinduism, is different from another’s view on the very same religion. It is upto you to choose what you believe. It is possible for you to be religious and support queer people. There are many people who that actively in HinduismChristianity, and other faiths also have good support systems available, if you make an effort to do look them up!

If you still want to take the side of homophobic people, remember this—religion is a very personal thing to you. You have learnt to live in a diverse society, where you have accepted that other people have different faiths. If you do not want to engage in a certain activity because you believe your religion is against it, that’s fine. Don’t do it. But you cannot let your belief dictate the lives of others. Just as a Muslim friend would not tell you not to eat pork and worship Allah, a Hindu friend would not tell you to become vegetarian and worship the thousands of Gods that they have, and an atheist friend wouldn’t tell you to give up your faith entirely or that you are stupid for believing in something or someone, you too will not shove your religion down other people’s throats.

‘But Why Should I Be Concerned? What’s In It For Me?’

You live in a society where everyone is dependent on each other. You count on people to do their bit, and you have people counting on you to do yours. They could be your children, other family members, friends, distant relatives, co-workers, employers, employees. Are you really going to let those people down because you refuse to get with the times? If you help people in their time of need, and are there when they need you, they will do the same for you.

‘I’m Not Letting Anyone Down, I Don’t Know Any Gay People Personally’

Well, that’s where you are wrong. It is estimated that 20% of the population is attracted to their own gender. It is hig

hly unlikely that you managed to interact with only those who are straight.

‘Okay, But Really, No One I Know Is Gay’

No one told you they’re gay. Because, perhaps, they were unsure if you are an ally; if you would be able to take it well; if you would out them to other people or not.

Some people are open about their sexuality, and others are not. That is their choice to disclose it to you or not. But do not blame them if they haven’t confided in you. Make yourself an approachable ally, and see how many people will come and talk to you about this.

‘Oh, So Maybe This Person Is Gay, Even If They Said They Were Straight’

Hello? Has your mother not taught you to mind your own business? You can never tell if someone is gay or not just by the way they look, dress, or behave. Everyone is their own individual, with different hobbies, and interests. Believe someone when they say they are gay. Believe someone when they say they are straight.

‘Arre, But Yaar, These Gays No, They’ll Hit On Me, And Make Me Uncomfortable’

You know a person can be into your gender, but not be personally attracted to you, right? And uncle ji, how many times have you hit on women and made them uncomfortable? I’m pretty sure they either laughed it off, or told you to stop. In the unlikely event that a gay man was to approach you, you could also laugh it off, or tell them you aren’t interested. Any decent person will respect that.

‘But Why Do They Keep Talking About Their Sexuality? Why Are They Obsessed With It?’

Okay, so you’re saying that 99% of our movies, music, and WhatsApp forwards that cater to the heteronormativity are now being suppressed by the 1% representation queer people are getting, and that too very recently? Straight people, who have so far had the privilege of representing queer people, have done a very bad job by perpetuating stereotypes. Obviously, because they do not have the lived experience, they cannot represent queer people authentically. It is therefore left to the LGBTQ folks to talk about their experience. And since they are a minority, they have to work harder to make their voices heard.

‘How Do I Talk To Children About This?’

Educate yourself first. Talk to experts, or queer people who are willing to share their personal experience, and try to understand things for yourself. Then, make sure a child knows you are approachable , and that if they have any questions, about anything, they can come to you.

As they hit puberty, or even earlier, address the topic very directly, and with no shame, guilt, or embarrassment. Tell them that you love them and will accept them, regardless of who they choose to date, and love. Remember, a child’s happiness and comfort should be your top priority. You don’t want a child who will grow up to resent you for your inability to accept them, or for you to resent them for something they cannot control.

‘I Did. And My Child Came Out To Me. What Now?’

First, thank them for trusting you. They took a leap of faith, and put themselves in a vulnerable position. Remember, even though homosexuality has been decriminalised here, there are still taboos and stigma around it.

Give them relationship advice, like you would, with a straight child. You know, anything ranging from, “Make sure you are comfortable, and not pressured into anything,” to “Love is tough, but so worth it.”

DO NOT SAY THAT IT IS A PHASE. If it is, then that’s alright, they have the right to change their mind. If it is not, then saying that it’s a phase will just leave them feeling invalidated. Once again, a child’s wellbeing is most important.

Teach them about safe sex. Yes, even if they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual, they need to use condoms, or dental dams to prevent STDs and STIs. I know it is hard as a parent to talk to your child about these things, but it is essential for their safety and to prevent them from harm.

‘Okay, But I Do Not Want My Child To Be Sexually Active Before A Certain Age’

Here’s the thing, children will explore themselves regardless of what you want or think. You can either be supportive about it, and be an active participant in their life, or be un-supportive, and never hear from them about anything. It’s essential, of course, to explain to them that there is an age of consent, and that they would be risking trauma (to themselves), and jail-time for their partner (if the partner is above the age of consent). Also make sure they understand that having a large age gap while dating (especially when younger) causes a power dynamic which may lead to them being taken advantage of, and is often predatory. This can happen regardless of which gender they are dating. So straight people, you take notes too.

So, Google whatever you can, ask other people questions (as long as they are not invasive) and read up.

You must be to comment.
  1. A L

    Leaving a comment to let you know that this article has been nominated for a Women’s Web Orange Flower Award under the category of ‘Writing on LGBT+ issues’. Here is the link to the nomination:

More from Ishita Trikha

Similar Posts

By Aqsa Shaikh

By Juhi Smita

By Punita Maheshwari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below