When Manjinder Singh Sidhu came out to his mom, she had never heard of homosexuality.
After a trip to the doctor, she was told that her son’s orientation was God-given and could not be changed – and now she and her son have created a YouTube video to educate other parents about accepting their children for who they are.
‘The advice we give is that if your child tells you [they are gay], you should accept it and not tell them to change,’ she said, speaking in the video uploaded last month.
‘It’s OK what they are, God has given it, and you should accept them as it is.’
‘Trying to change your child, or your child trying to change himself can have a negative effect.’
Sidhu, an LGBTI activist based in the UK, posted the video in Punjabi with English subtitles, so children could share it easily with their parents.
As well as touching on Sidhu’s coming out, the pair discuss important issues relevant to LGBTI children, including conversion therapy and same-sex marriage, which is currently illegal in India.
In an attempt to hide or change their children’s sexual orientation, parents often encourage their offspring to marry someone of the opposite sex.
‘I can say that some people like this deceive others and marry their sons off to girls,’ Sidhu’s mother explained.
‘They ruin their lives. The ones who marry their daughters off, their life is ruined too. Girls and boys.
‘If they were to listen to the issue then nothing would go wrong.’
Before closing the video with an affectionate hug, Sidhu’s mother offers three key pieces of advice to parents who feel uncertain when their kids come out to them: listen to your child, don’t pressure them to change, and be happy in your child’s happiness.
‘Whatever your child says, support them,’ she said.
‘If the world laughs, let them laugh. If the world says something, let them.
‘Don’t listen to the world. The world says a lot of things.’
Watch the full video below: