- The author of this article is Ramya Mishra- Author & Gay Right Activist
“They kicked me out in the middle of the night”, said teary-eyed Rahul Singh. The pride month is here, with most of us waving pride flags. Community members, allies, few parents are showing support to their loved ones. But there is another side to the story.
Parents are believed to be the most selfless people in the entire universe. The bond between a parent and child is full of love, trust and is generally unbreakable. Even when the child stops believing in themselves, the parent’s belief in their ward never ceases to exist. Sadly at times there is a different narrative. The only two people whose acceptance matters the most, are unable to accept their child’s sexuality.
In Rahul’s words, “I am from Ludhiana, people here are driven by money, showoff and many more things. Most of the parents have big wedding plans for their children, and if there is a male child in question, then the dreams get more elaborate. As per my family, I was a disaster from the beginning. I always liked dressing up, wearing make-up, playing with dolls. This didn’t settle well with my family. They tried disciplining me, but everything failed. Finally seeing no other option they threw me out on the road. My father’s words still echo in my ears, “Why were you born? You are a curse that I want to wipe from my family’s face. Don’t ever come back again.”
This is one of the many stories, which we hear from the Indian gays. In one singular moment, the family not only snatched the comfort and security from the child but also robbed him of his self-respect. Instead of supporting their child, they planted deep insecurity in them which would act as their reference guide in the future.
A study has proven children with high levels of family rejection, are nearly six times more likely to report high levels of depression. It is often difficult to let go of a bad childhood, which paves for wrong mental conditioning.
Thus we are not discussing a simple rejection but something more complex and petrifying, which is going behind the scenes. The kind of irreversible damage that is inflicted on the individual’s psyche is heart-wrenching.
When one goes through a trauma like this, it’s not easy to bury it. In the majority of cases the person carries the emotional baggage throughout existence. Even in the best of situations, the ugly shadow of the past is always looming around. As a result, such individuals are highly defensive or offensive, even a small provocation can lead to bigger fights. Things worsen further when these feelings start spilling into their professional life and affecting it negatively.
They also face trust issues in every relationship, be it with friends or later on with their partners. They always have a nagging doubt, of not being enough for their loved ones. In a few extreme cases, it might lead to suicide. Primarily, because they were unable to handle their parent’s anger, rejection, and ultimate betrayal.
It is difficult being gay when most of society looks down upon them. But the parental rejection, adds the cherry on the cake. With the fear of abandonment hanging on an individual‘s head, coming out neither was nor ever will be easy. Why would a person want to lose their safe haven-The Family?
Parents’ reactions are often governed by society’s responses. Adding more to the list are the issues of marriage, pro-creation, social stigma, and keeping pretenses. In this narrative one key thing is missed, every change begins at home. Society comes later on. Primarily it is their acceptance, which will help the queer child in facing the world outside. By disrespecting their child’s sexual orientation, they are deserting their ward.
Ryan another gay from Delhi confesses, “I desperately wanted my relationships to work. I wanted to prove to myself that nothing is wrong with me. My parents, the extended family all are wrong about me. But sadly I followed a destructive path. To gain unquestioned acceptance, I let go of most of the things which mattered most to me. Keeping the other person happy became my primary aim. It was like becoming a slave. I wish that I would have loved myself more. This experience taught me a lot. Now I have clarity with regards to life and relations.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg, geared towards seeking validation from every single soul, they unknowingly get into a series of toxic relationships. Losing oneself completely for the sake of a relationship or changing entire personality is definitely not a good idea. Many victims of abandonment, stoically bear domestic violence, mental or financial abuse, falsely believing by bearing all this, their partner will love them unconditionally. But in the end, only disappointment and disillusionment follow.
The scary part is, mental health issues in the gay community are least addressed. Depression is widely rampant among community members. Thus we often see a high rate of suicides. The hookup culture is pretty in, it can also be contributed to the lack of trust or long-term commitment.
In the Asian continent, where majority countries are grappling with the acceptance of the LGBTQ community, there are no laws in place. Often a gay partner fleeces the other partner, both emotionally and financially and walks away scot free. If there are laws, protecting the community members, probably this blatant exploitation could be avoided.
It is high time, the society needs to develop acceptance towards the LGBTQ community. Parents need to look at their children holistically, putting sexuality aside. But it is equally important, the gay kids shouldn’t be in a hurry to come out of the closet. They should seek knowledge, financial independence, and stability in life, before coming out to the world.
A strong message needs to be sent out to the young LGBTQ members- learning, skillset, networking can never be defined by one’s sexual orientation. Be it any field-corporate, sports, entertainment, medical, science, and technology they are filled with the queer trailblazers, who are working relentlessly towards the development of humanity.
It is important to look at the person comprehensively and let’s not define them by their sexuality. Every human deserves love, respect, and privacy.