Home is where the change is

A morning newspaper yesterday, carried a front-page report about how the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N Srinivasan has been mentally and physically torturing his son Ashwin because he is homosexual. In the report, Ashwin accuses his powerful father of using his clout to unleash a “cycle of violence” against him and his partner Avi Mukherjee.

While one is not taking sides with father or son here, we can say that India has many Ashwins. Even as the country moves ahead touting its new, global shining India image and gay supporters have more and more reasons to shout out loud and proud, attitudes still need to change when it comes to Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues.

Legal changes and depictions of the subject on celluloid, touching topics that no filmmaker explored before, are small steps but the bigger change has to happen in minds, hearts and within the home. Screaming about gay rights and gay liberation outside on the streets is meaningless if homosexuals still cower in fear and shame in their own homes.

While parents do wish well for their child, it is also time parents remove the blinkers and accept that their child may be homosexual and it is no crime to be so. The fear of social shame and stigma is very strong even now, and that is why parents try to ‘cure’ their children or even get them married, in an effort to make them straight, resulting in very unhappy and damaging relationships.

Activists cite numerous horror stories about families beating their children at an early age, in case they show signs of veering from the societal norms set for their sex. Electric shocks are still used as cures and barbs, beatings and blackmail is often used, leaving an individual forever pockmarked by guilt and self-loathing.

Now is the time not just to mouth politically correct platitudes about gay rights, but actually practice them within families. After all, parity (between gay and straight) begins at home. 

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