Today, homosexuality and queer identities may be acceptable to more Indian youths than ever before, but within the boundaries of family, home and school, acceptance of their sexuality and freedom to openly express their gender choices still remain a constant struggle for LGBTQ.
In urban India, where social media and corporate initiatives have created increased awareness of LGBT rights, the scenario looks more upbeat for gay men than for transgender people or lesbian women. While urban LGBT voices that are heard through several online and real-world platforms form an important part of LGBT activism, these expose only a small part of the diverse challenges faced by the community. I personally found that one of the major factors that result in the stigmatization of LGBT people is a parental reaction towards homosexuality. The study goes on to conclude that most LGBT people are acceptable to family only if they agree to behave like heterosexuals.
In a society bound by a rigid set of social and cultural norms that dictate the terms and conditions of education, career and marriage, the lack of family support can prove to be a big blow to the mental and physical health of LGBT people. Isolation and pressure to conform often lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and psychosomatic diseases. Many of them prefer to move to another city to stay away from the immense pressure to marry and start a family.
Families that accept their identities put many restrictions on the way they choose to dress and interact with their partners. In the absence of family support, online groups and social media have offered accessible alternatives to form a community outside of the family. Platforms like Gaysi or publishers like Queer Ink have helped carve out spaces for LGBT people to interact, share and collaborate. You can’t face the family or society alone, it’s the truth. Accepting yourself is a big step that can help you to overcome fear and face this brutal world. Let’s at least try to take a step, I myself tried and came out in 2016, so why can’t you?