This was the title of the CNN-IBN documentary aired on 19th Nov’11. It told the story of 2 mothers, who finally accepted their homosexual child, & are now living, at peace, with that reality.
The disclosure that my daughter/sister/cousin/close friend could be a lesbian is definitely shocking, at first; & unbelievable, next. It isn’t the ‘natural’ way of things as we know it. Society has long controlled our notions of what is right or wrong with respect to sexuality; & the conditioning is so strong that, to see a woman loving another woman, is disturbing. I do feel repulsed by the sight of a man with over-the-top feminine mannerisms. Remember the gay designer caricaturized in Fashion or Boman in Dostana?
It’s fashionable to rationalize it when shown on TV/movie but quite another story when the truth hits home. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to suddenly face this truth in my own yard, what then? How I’ve prided myself on being a well read, broad minded woman, who has seen the world & known & interacted with all kinds of people. But I realize now, that for all my claims of being liberated, I’m caught in shackles too. I’d be a hypocrite if I say, “Yes, I’ll accept the truth”. When I asked Sathya, he said he won’t accept. This is the first time we’ve agreed on something. But I wish I’d disagree & fight & object with him on this, as I do on everything else!! But try as I may, I can’t put my hand on my heart & honestly say, “Yes, I’ll be ok & will take it in my stride if it turns out that my child is gay”. The realization that he’d be gay would be heart breaking. It is one thing to voice our “enlightened” opinions in support of a social issue; but quite another to actually come face to face with it in one’s own home. I respect the mothers the world over who’ve shown that acceptance. They have shown that the child is more important than his sexual preference. He has every right to live the way he wants to. It truly is his choice.
I read somewhere that “if all the faces of gays in church on Sunday suddenly turned purple, you'd be amazed at all the purple faces around you! On & off the pulpit! People you never suspect -- accountants, doctors, lawyers & even conservative politicians!” Many never reveal their true identity. They live in the closet for fear of rejection from colleagues, friends, & spouses. While the world thinks they are straight, they quietly carry on the lie. If there’s anything worse than knowing that someone is gay, is the knowledge that they had to put on a façade all their life. The lie hurts more.
Personally, I don’t know anyone who is gay. I don’t have a reference for it in my immediate or even extended family & friends’ circle. Maybe, I need to know a real person to really understand them. Maybe, what it takes to accept the situation is, truly unconditional love. Am I there yet? Unfortunately, no. I need to fight the demons in my head first. I need to question & challenge my ideas on what sexuality is & how it should be expressed & who defines it & why should it be defined at all. I must stop feeding my mind with scenes of same sex encounters. I need to rise above my pettiness & cut the chains of social stigma. I need to find reserves of love within me that will help me embrace it no matter what. Homosexuality needs acceptance from deep within. Only love can do that.
Centuries have passed, protests & fights staged for their acceptability, yet today I, a so-called educated woman, am unable to come to terms with it. I’m divided between empathy & disgust. Empathy because I do recognize that every human has the right to live the way he wants. Disgust because if it actually happens in my own house, I’ll be repulsed by the sight of a man with man. I realize I’m a hypocrite. My empathy towards them is not genuine; it is only an intellectual empathy. What they need is emotional understanding, not rational support from people close to them.
The truth is, none of them ever made a conscious choice to be gay. The truth is, homosexuality is more about love than sex. I’ve been raised to think we marry to raise a family, to have children. I must now realign & know that the first & foremost function of marriage is companionship. The day I can really accept a person in my own house, & not let it change the way we relate to each other, in any way, whatsoever, then, that would be the real acceptance, not just in words but in spirit.
But today is not that day.