When Padma Vishwanath Iyer found out her son was gay she did the opposite of what many families in India do.
Not only did she accept her son -Harish Iyer – regardless of his sexuality but has become a ferocious advocate for LGBTI rights in India.
In March this year she made history with a small group of other parents of LGBTI people. They came together to best workshop how to support, not only their children, but all LGBTI people in India.
The Mumbai-based Padma has also faced her share of hate from people for her work on LGBTI issues. Especially from other parents who are not as supportive of their children.
‘They refuse to reason. Some have hung up on me when they failed to convince me that once a homosexual person gets married [to a person of another gender], everything would be fine,’ she told Be Bold People.
It took her some time to accept her son’s sexuality because in the beginning Padma had no awareness of homosexuality. But once she learnt a little more, Padma went on to educate other parents about what it means to be LGBTI. She is also vocal in condemnation of Section 377 of India’s Penal Code that makes homosexuality illegal.
‘Children are born gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. It is not the environment or circumstances that govern their sexuality,’ she said.
‘I think it should be legal for anyone who is an adult to get into a consensual sexual or emotional relationship with another adult,’ she said.
‘What adults do in their private space should be no one’s business.’