How to talk to kids about: Sexuality
We can all learn a thing or two about unconditional love and support
I’d done an interview with filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan a few years in which he made a comment that really struck me. He said, “When we come out to our parents, what happens is that we tend to push them in a closet, while we step out of our own. When a young queer person comes out to their near and dear ones, they feel liberated and free, but someone like a mother doesn’t have anybody to share their emotions with.” We were talking about his film Evening Shadows, but that observation he made about coming to terms with your sexuality, you can’t help but empathise. It is not easy when your kid comes out – for them or for you.
We’ve grown up in a liberated age, especially when you compare it to the period in which our parents grew up. For decades, people lived in the closet hiding their sexuality for fear of being called ‘unnatural’.
Most parents learn as they go. Unlearning years of conditioning and preconceived notions, tweaking parenthood to be the best support system they can for their young ones. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the love, acceptance and support of their friends and family that Sushant Divgikar does.
Former Mr Gay India and a celebrated drag performer, Sushant started questioning his sexuality when he was about 12 years old. A few years later, when his brother told their father Pradeep that Sushant was attending gay parties, Pradeep decided to broach the subject directly. “I took the opportunity to just casually ask him. Without batting an eyelid, he said, ‘yes, Dad. I’m gay.’ I gave him a big hug and told him ‘from today, my support for you will be even more,” Pradeep says, recounting the incident that took place before the overturning of Section 377. He’s been a proud ally of the LGBTQ community ever since, regularly attending Pride Parades with his son as well as his drag performances as Rani KoHEnur.