“Vikriti Evam Prakriti”
(What seems unnatural is also natural- Rigveda)
Sexuality is the most important part of our life. It explains to us about who we are as an individual. Sexuality refers to sexual behaviour, attraction, and feeling towards the other person. There are 4 basic sexual orientations: heterosexual orientation: refers to the individuals who are attracted to the opposite gender. Like men attracted to women. They are known as straight individuals; homosexual orientation: refers to the individuals who are attracted to the same gender. Like men attracted to men, females attracted to females. They are also known as gay or lesbian respectively; bisexual orientation: refers to the individuals who are attracted to both genders. Like a person having feelings for both men and women and asexual orientation: refers to the individuals who are not attracted to any of the two genders.
Here we are going to talk about homosexuality and how you as parents can help your child to grow stronger by letting them be who they are.
According to 2012 figures of the Government of India, 2.5 million people were recorded as homosexual. India has never been open to homosexual people. But now we can see a change in the thoughts of people. According to the World Values Survey done in 2014 with the sample size of 1500 people to know their values and beliefs- the study shows that 30% of people in India support homosexuality. The study also shows that in 1990, 89% of people regarded it as not justifiable but in 2014 the percentage has declined to 24%. In the year 1991, 91% of people said that they don’t want homosexual people as their neighbour but in 2014 they prefer not to have unmarried couples and people of different religions to be their neighbour. In the year 2017-2018, a survey was done by the Centre for The Study of Developing Societies and Azim Premji University, in 8 states, which recorded that 28% of people support a sexual relationship between two men and two women. Whereas, 46% of people did not support it.
Read | Gender-related barriers
All these statistics somewhat show us that Indian’s are still on the verge of mental development. We Indians are so attached to our tradition, culture, and religion that if we see anything different, we get panicked and be unsupportive towards it by regarding it as “impure.” Although after making homosexuality legal in India by the Supreme Court in the year 2018 has given a ray of hope and support to the people. The society is also changing their mindset slowly.
How as a parent you can teach your child about sexuality and when?
Talk, talk, talk!
Talk to your child about what sexuality is at an early age during puberty. As it’s during the puberty period they start having hormonal changes and get attracted to others. Talk to them about all types of sexual orientations, not just about heterosexual orientation. So, they may understand themselves and their feelings. In this era, children are more prone to technology. They have access to mobile phones and the internet where they can Google about anything and get the answer. But sometimes this can be misleading too. For example, pornography is one of the key components to mislead a child. Create a friendly environment in the family where you and your child can open up and talk about anything without giving any second thought.
How to accept your child’s sexuality?
Be open about your child’s gender identity
Be open to your child and ensure that you are available for them whenever they need you. Have a friendly relation with your child because a family is someone upon whom every child relies the most.
Whenever the child opens up to you about their sexual orientation don’t panic. Stay calm and listen to them. It is obvious that parents have certain dreams for their children. If something opposite happens then we freak out. So, instead, try to learn how to be supportive. Display LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) friendly symbols at home.
Be accepting and affirm their identity
When the child speaks up and says “mom-dad I am gay or lesbian or transgender” don’t get angry on them. Don’t even say things like it is just a phase. Instead, accept them and make it clear that you love them no matter what. Accept them the way they are. Do not make any negative comments about their sexual orientation.
Be respectful towards their identity and ensure that no family member, relatives or even their friends be disrespectful and make fun of them. Don’t be silent in these situations. Stand for your child and make them feel that you are there for them.
Obviously, homosexuality is new to Indian parents. So, keep learning about it. Read articles or books. Or seek support from organizations like Sweekar- the rainbow parents, where you can learn how to accept your LGBTQ child.
Build relationships with other LGBTQ families and friends
This will help you understand your child and make them feel supported. Also, it will give your child strength to be open about their sexual orientation in public places and they will be more confident about themselves.
Don’t be overprotective
Be normal. Yes, society still is not open towards LGBTQ people and they are teased, bullied, harassed, and made fun off. But try not to be overprotective. Treat them as you were treating them before knowing that your child is homosexual.
Love them for who they are
Last but not least love them unconditionally. Your love is the most supportive way for them to grow stronger. It will help them in building up their self-esteem.
Thus, by the way of conclusion, it can be stated that as parents we have a heavy responsibility on our shoulders but accepting the child the way they are and teaching them good values is all you need to do to make them feel good about themselves and will make them stronger to face the world.