RainbowMan: Neither a Father, Nor a Mother, I want to be a Parent
Harish Iyer shares his dream of wanting to be a parent this year, a dream that may remain unfulfilled
Everyone begins the New Year with a resolution. I’m beginning mine by sharing a dream. I want to be a parent. I will not fall into the trap of calling myself a father or mother as both words are associated with gender based and sexual stereotypes. While mothers are painted as the primary care givers capable of great love and sacrifice, fathers are seen the primary bread-winners and providers. They are also the disciplinarians.
Irrespective of whether I am able to find a suitable husband, I know my parenting style will reflect both maternal and paternal traits. This is because I’m perfectly comfortable and in touch with my so called ‘feminine’ side. Truth be told, I do not believe in the gender binary. Also, tell me something… are fathers incapable of tenderness? Can mothers never inculcate discipline in children? Bullshit!
Here, watch this moving scene from Aamir Khan-Manisha Koirala starrer Akele Hum Akele Tum:
I have always wanted to adopt a child. This has nothing to do with my homosexuality. I can easily get a surrogate mother to deliver my biological child. But I believe, there is more to being a parent than merely contributing the sperm or ova. Common DNA does not keep families together, love, respect and understanding does. I also don’t want to adopt to make a socio-political statement as an activist or to support a ‘cause’.
My reasons for wanting to become a parent are purely selfish. I have a lot of love to give and I want a lot of love in return. So far I have doted on my two feline sons Shiva and Krishna, who have loved me back twice as much every day. But I have so much more to give and I want so much more! I don’t want to limit myself to being a cat-daddy. I also want to love and be loved by a human child. Both my cat babies are boys. I want my human child to be a girl. I have even thought of her name.
I want my own little doll who will spread cheer and warmth in my life. I want to teach her how to play catch. I want to teach her how to count. I want to show her love and empathy. I hope she will join me in my activism. I want her to bond with her feline brothers. I want her to inspire her friends to lead a more compassionate and environmentally conscious lifestyle. Like every parent, I want my daughter to be a mini-me and take pride when people say, “Bilkul baap pe gayi hai!” But more importantly, I also want to give her the freedom and space to develop her own identity and make her own choices. I have so many dreams, but alas…
While no law explicitly states that homosexual men are forbidden from adopting a child, the law of the land is that single-men are not allowed to adopt a girl child and homosexual men cannot adopt a boy child. The implication and interpretation is that as a gay man, I have no hope of ever adopting a child.
While I have never played the victim card, the injustice of this particular situation makes me look at my life and feel miserable. Friends and family often pull me out of my own private hell, but the void remains and grows every day.
I have tried to fill this void by providing supplies to a home for abandoned children in my neighbourhood. I make it a point to go spend time with the children there, play with them, talk to them, have a meal with them. But every time I walk out alone with no little hand clutching my finger, no excited voice saying, “Daddy let’s go home!”
My mother’s greatest fear is that after she is gone, there will be no one to look after me. I’m beginning to make peace with the possibility that I will die alone, that I will never love or be loved by my child, that I will never be a daddy…
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)
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