Once Ready, I Hope Coming Out To My Folks Won’t Be That Big A Deal
I got more comfortable with myself because I saw them being okay with who they were.
How did you come out to your parents?
The answer to this question, when posed to the LGBTQ+ community, has always piqued my curiosity. As a bisexual man living in India, it’s a bridge that I’ll have to cross one day, and I’ve been seeking as much gyaan as possible.
While most people I know haven’t come out to their parents yet, there are a few brave ones I know who did and managed to come out alive! My favourite one is a 30-something friend from Mumbai, whose parents stealthily set him up on a date with a family-friend’s daughter. He ended up developing a great rapport with her, and both families started daydreaming about their kids getting married.
When he found out about their khayali pulao, he came out to the girl, and she, being super-understating about it, helped him tell his parents. (God bless women!)
After a bit of Punjabi-style melodrama, filmy dialogues and plenty of crying, everyone came to terms with it. Even though he hasn’t found the right guy yet, he’s still pretty happy because he gets to live his truth without hiding anything from his family. And of course, no more rishtaas!
While stories like these give me a lot of hope, there’s still a huge difference between listening to them and actually living them. Changing someone’s mindset takes a lot of time and can be very difficult to cope with. While the USA and Canada are miles ahead of us when it comes to accepting and embracing homosexuality, they aren’t fully there yet either.
India is a different story entirely. Here, parents don’t talk about sex with their kids, leave alone sexuality. But I feel representation and leading by example can help a lot.
People in the West have seen plenty of gay characters being represented in mainstream popular culture. Who can forget Ross’ ex-wife Carol and her “lesbian lover” Susan from the hit TV show Friends? Plus, Will and Grace will always be a classic. Recently, my personal favourites have been Kenny O’Neal from The Real O’Neals, Josh from Please Like Me, and the ever entertaining Cam and Mitchell from Modern Family. My queen, though, will always be Ellen DeGeneres, who has had fourteen successful seasons of The Ellen DeGeneres Show ever since she came out on Oprah in 1997.
It is only because of these shows, and due to internet influencers like Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta, I knew that my sexuality was nothing to be ashamed of. I got more comfortable with myself because I saw them being okay with who they were.
Representation was what gave me hope, and I actively started seeking more of it.
Fortunately, for India, we’ve seen a new wave of web series and cinema that revolves around the lives of real LGBTQ+ characters, which is a deviation from the norm. We’ve seen them on the sidelines, often ridiculed or only used to provide comic relief. Movies like Kapoor and Sons, Loev and Margarita with a Straw take a step in the right direction; each showing a different, unique facet of queer life.
Something that really surprised me though, is Ekta Kapoor’s web series Romil and Jugal. Available on her Alt Balaji platform, the show is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, except with gay protagonists.
Yes, it is filled with extra masala and cheesy dialogues à la Balaji, but it does address important issues such as the fear of coming out, not being accepted by society, and being rejected by your own family. It portrays LGBTQ+ characters as real people with real problems, which is refreshing to watch in an Indian production.
These characters help the masses understand that a different sexual orientation doesn’t mean that a person is defective or broken in any way. They’re not mentally ill or sick. They just love differently, and that’s okay.
With the Supreme Court’s Right to Privacy ruling in our favour, and the positive direction that LGBTQ+ representation seems to be taking, I honestly hope that by the time I’m ready to have the whole “Coming out” conversation with my parents, it won’t be that big a deal.
(The author spends most of his time on the internet. He still believes that his Hogwarts acceptance letter will arrive one day. The views expressed above are authors own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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