‘People Love People, Not Gender’, Writes the Mother of a Gay Child
Gay rights activist Harish Iyer with his mother.
Gay rights activist Harish Iyer with his mother.(Photo Courtesy: Harish Iyer)

‘People Love People, Not Gender’, Writes the Mother of a Gay Child

Today is Valentine’s Day. Both my sons are die-hard romantics. While my older one was on his phone trying to make some video, my younger one was busy planning an outing. It seems more like a vacation from the kitchen to me, with both my sons out on their respective dates. As a mother, I reflect on what Valentine’s Day would be like. It all sounds hunky dory and like a kahaani ghar ghar ki. And indeed it is. If only the world doesn’t make it a “story” that my younger son Girish is married to a woman, and the gender of my older son - Harish’s lover is male.

Harish Iyer dressed up as a woman for the Mumbai Gay Pride Parade.
Harish Iyer dressed up as a woman for the Mumbai Gay Pride Parade.
(Photo: Judhajit Bagchi)

When I was growing up, I never knew love of any other kind than that of a male loving a female. It took me some time to understand that a person from the same gender could love a person from their gender and it is just like a husband loving a wife or a girlfriend loving a boyfriend. As a film buff, when I watched the film Guddi, I could relate to the enthusiasm in Kusum’s (Jaya Bachchan) eyes for meeting her star Dharmendra.

I, however, could not understand that Jai and Veeru could be anything but best friends, and films have always told me that irrespective of Rishi cross dressing with Paintal in Rafoo Chakkar and bonding more with him than with his love interest, in the end he will be married to Neetu Singh.

The popular culture around me showed me just the view of the man and woman ending up of the couple. That was the only truth I knew. That was the only truth I unknowingly brought up my children with.

Art imitates life, and life imitates art. And we assume the truths as only the one that we see around and experience. It took me years to realise that there is love beyond the love that we see. It took me some years to come out of the shell and accept my older son for who he is and accept his homosexuality as a part of the complete person that he is.

I realised that people love people and not genders. Or more succinctly, people love people and this love transcends the boundaries of genders and sexuality.

I also realise gender and sexuality is fluid and extremely personal. Parents have the right to be concerned, but they should also realise that their children are complete beings, capable of choosing to elect a nation and to choose their gender and their partner’s. And while, parental love and concern is genuine, we need to step out of their affairs. We need to step out of their bedrooms.

Love transcends the boundaries of genders and sexuality.
Love transcends the boundaries of genders and sexuality.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

On Valentine’s Day, it will be apt to share that I have dealt with the crushes of both my sons. And both have been obsessive lovers. I was more scared about the heart breaks of my older son though, because I know that the more the love is forbidden, the mightier is the opposition. That’s where it becomes important to celebrate love. And celebrate love - not in monochrome - but in it’s all colours and all glory. It took me time to realise that there is nothing more important than enabling our children to live their truths and their own authentic lives. We should realise that their lives are authentic and truthful only if they live with the ones they love. There is nothing more important than that.

Over 200 persons from the LGBT community and their supporters could be seen boldly waving the Rainbow flag.
Over 200 persons from the LGBT community and their supporters could be seen boldly waving the Rainbow flag.
(Photo: The Quint)

When love is accepted, the nation progresses. I am not the one to believe in the romanticised version of love. I am certain though that the more constricted our love affairs are, the more conflicted the atmosphere would be. As an advocate for peace and tranquil, we ought to rise up and celebrate love in it’s complete glory and not as a special story. It is time we accept love in all forms transcending boundaries of gender and sexuality.

When you criminalise love, you demonise an entire population and demean human existence. This Valentine’s Day, I campaign for Equal Love for our LGBTIQ youth.

(Padma Iyer is a home-maker and one of the members of the parents support group – Sweekar)

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