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LGBTI people come out to their parents after India legalizes gay sex

LGBTI people come out to their parents after India legalizes gay sex

Pride parade in India

When India decriminalized homosexuality yesterday (6 September), LGBTI people reacted with relief and joy.

Some of them even took the opportunity to try to come out to their parents.

But, for some, it didn’t go well.

22-year-old Kavya Reddy (not her real name) is from Visakhapatnam in the south-east Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

After she heard the news about the Supreme Court striking down Section 377, she thought she would finally come out to her parents as bisexual.

Delhi Pride 2008
Delhi Pride 2008. | Photo: Jesse Rapczak / Flickr

‘When the verdict came out, I was so happy,’ Kavya told Gay Star News. ‘It is impossible to describe in words how happy I was to finally be open and proud about my sexuality.

‘So I decided to come out to my parents,’ she said.

Mom reacts: ‘Homosexuality is against God’

She sat her parents down and started the conversation by asking whether they heard about the court’s decision.

They immediately started ‘pouring’ out their negative views on homosexuality.

‘We are Hindus,’ Kavya explained. ‘So basically my parents think that homosexuality is against God [and] nature.’

She said her parents don’t know much about gender and sexuality, and they refuse to learn.

They believe openly LGBTI people bring shame to their families, the internet corrupts people into being gay and embracing homosexuality will lead to a population decrease.

But what ‘shocked’ Kavya the most was when her mom said: ‘What can we do if they [are] born with abnormalities in their body?’

She said she tried to explain homosexuality as normal, but they wouldn’t listen.

They then got angry that she was trying to argue with them, because it’s disrespectful for younger Indian people to talk back to their elders.

‘Try to change yourself’

Two years ago, Hari Priya came out as a lesbian to her mother after her grandparents were pressuring her to marry a man.

The 24-year-old is from South India’s Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

When she came out two years ago, her mom responded: ‘I will give you two to three years. Try to change yourself.’

And when the news got back to her father, he tried to make her go to a psychiatrist.

Members of Indian LGBTI choir Rainbow Voice Mumbai
Members of Indian LGBTI choir Rainbow Voice Mumbai. | Rainbow Voices Mumbai / Facebook

But when the news of the 377 decision broke yesterday, her mother called her. After a few moments of silence, they started talking about everyday things.

Then, randomly, her mother blurted out: ‘I want you to be happy. That’s it.’

Hari explained: ‘Other than my mom, no one is going to take this news seriously. For them, [the] law doesn’t matter.

‘It’s culture and tradition that matters,’ she said.

Indian gay man: ‘I still am very much in the closet’

But for some like Vishal Handa, coming out is still not an option.

The 27-year-old gay man currently lives in Canada but is originally from Amritsar, Punjab.

He told Gay Star News: ‘I still am very much in the closet, owing to the fact that my family is very conservative and god fearing.

‘I am planning to come out soon when I’ll have a strong financial foundation in Canada.

‘This [court] decision, however, has left me with high spirits, confidence and pride.

‘It’s a marvelous feeling that I will not be a criminal whenever I’ll go back home,’ he said.