Indian Decade

An Example for Indian Parents

Parents in India can be too hands on. One mother’s easy acceptance of her son being gay suggests another approach.

As a society structured around family, we face many of the parental pulls and pushes that China Power blogger Jiang Xueqin recently wrote about.

Most parents here in India are also deeply involved—or rather, tend to drive—the educational choices and career options of their children. Indeed, I've got many friends whose life trajectories are often those that their parents have mapped out for them.

But last week, while doing a story on how the lives of those in Delhi's gay and lesbian community have changed since the repeal of Section 377, I came across a heartening example of what efforts to promote diversity and acceptance really need—strong parental support.

A criminal lawyer I was profiling for the story lives with his mother in a typical upper-middle class south Delhi home. His mum knows, and fully accepts, the fact that he's gay. In fact she spoke quite openly with me about her decision to accept him. She isnt a well-travelled, highly-educated woman, and she hails from a conservative, middle class, small town family from the Hindi heartland. But her easy acceptance of her son, in a society ridden with so many stereotypes and stigmas surrounding homosexuality, was touching.

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All she wants is for her son to have a life he can truly be happy with. In this age of helicopter parenting, high ambitions and sometimes impossible expectations of achievement, several parents I know might benefit from sharing some of her wisdom.