September 16, 2020
Coming out to your Indian parents, you need to make sure you are confident enough to deal with whatever comes after, and prepare the ground in advance.
It is not an easy task to tell Indian parents you are gay. Like telling parents you don’t believe in religion, or you do not want to go to college, it might be hard to come out to Indian parents.
Many young Indian people are open about homosexuality, but when it comes to the older generation, it is trickier. Even for a progressive Indian family it might be hard to accept that their son or daughter is gay.
One of the reasons is because Indian society is very family oriented, and parents expect children to get married and give them grandchildren. So, when trying to come out to Indian parents, bear in mind their perspective and be patient.
Steps to follow:
Is it a good time for you to come out to your parents? Are you financially independent? Are they going through a stressful time? Picking the right moment can be key to making the news more digestible. Being financially independent means that if they will want you to leave you will have enough money to rent a place and live on your own. This a very important consideration to make before telling your parents you are gay.
Also, make sure your parents are in the best of mood and are not dealing with money/family/health problems so that they can analyse the situation clearly and not sum it up to other problems they have.
When considering timing, do not be selfish. If you have other siblings who will get married shortly, wait until they are settled before coming out to Indian parents, just in case the in-laws are not so open minded to understand the situation. Try to affect as little people as possible.
While you are waiting to tell your Indian parents you are gay, if they offer you to get married, say you want to focus on studying or your career at the moment.
Tell your siblings:
Usually the younger generations are more understanding and open-minded. If your siblings are like that, why don’t you tell them before telling your parents you are gay? If they support you, they can prepare the ground for your parents before and after you come out. It will be important for your parents to listen to your siblings’ perspective.
Dear Ma and Pa ( A letter to parents who are trying to understand their daughter’s same sex orientation)
You should ideally come out at home, when everything is quiet and you can talk freely without other people interrupting.
Probably the most important aspect of how to tell your parents you are gay is maintaining a positive attitude. Do not create an environment that makes them think something bad is about to happen. Be positive, smiley, ask them to sit and tell them quickly, confidently, and maturely that you are gay. No drama from your side, remain rational and reassuring.
Consider telling your mum first:
Of course this is only if you think your mum is more open or more understanding. She can then help you tell your dad.
Prepare for the immediate reaction:
It depends on your family’s mentality, maybe they are very progressive and everything will be fine. But they might also cry, scream, or, more likely, not understand exactly what it means. Many parents think homosexuality can be reversed and it is just a phase, so it is very important that you leave no room for hope from the very beginning. Tell them you are gay, have always been and will always be so they can deal with the reality. Be prepared to answer lots of questions, again stay calm and reassuring.
This really depends on the family. Some families might be fine with having a gay child, others will accept it but try to hide it to society, some others might deny it, while some very traditional parents might not accept a gay child at all.
Try to understand where your parents are coming from: everything they wanted for you is probably a good marriage and grandchildren, which they might still get if you are gay, but not in the way they pictured it. Try also to understand the problems they will face with the outside world: shame, gossip, questions. They will go through a hard time, and it is important for you to stay calm, supportive and firm with your words. That will give them a sense of normality and reassurance.
Tell them that if they accept it and are proud about it, it will be easier to face the external judgement, and of course explain them there is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing has changed, you are the same person.
Put them in contact with other parents who have gay children, an activist organisation might help you with that. It will be very important for your parents to meet other Indian parents who have gay children so that they can understand there is nothing terrible about it, the family will be the same.
What you might fear if you want to know how to tell your parents you are gay is a possible negative reaction. That can take 2 forms: they might want you to see doctors to “fix it”, in which case you have to explain you were born gay, are proud to be, and will always be. Do not be misleading. The other bad reaction they might have is wanting you to leave. If that happens, tell them either in person or in a letter, that you love them and you are sad they are rejecting your love. Tell them you will be there when they will change their minds.
If your parents react badly, you might need some support. That can be provided by a LGBTQIA organisation such as FSOG where you can meet other people in your situation.
THIS ARTICLE FOR FIRST PUBLISHED HERE.