Even though Article 377 has finally been abolished, the Indian LGBTQ community still suffers a daily battle to live without oppression and fear. For every member of the community, their families and their supporters, it means that every day comes with new challenges and hurdles to overcome. Sometimes, the only way to unburden your mind is to talk it out with people who share your point of view. While there have been many support groups (including a few on campuses) for the LGBTQ youth both online and at different locations around the country there has never been one for their parents, until now.
For the first time ever, 10 parents of LGBTQ people came together in Mumbai for a closed door support group in the hopes of sharing their experiences and learning from each other. The meeting was set up by Solaris Pictures in support of its upcoming feature film, Evening Shadows, by Sridhar Rangayan. While there have been public meets in the past organised by groups like Gay Bombay and Yaariyan, this is the first that can be described as an actual, structured support group.
The gathering was overseen and moderated by social development consultants Alpana Dange and Pallav Patankar who were ready to answer any queries and provide a more informed response to any issues that people had. The meeting made everyone realise that although the struggles of being a parent to an LGBTQ child are many, they were all experiencing the same things and could move forward knowing that they were not alone.
The parents that attended are proud of their success and hope that it was the first step towards forming a permanent support system. Their shared experiences are important to furthering public acceptance and combining forces is the best way to achieve that. As Alpana Dange noted ‘In this workshop, what I found most striking was their resolve to support not just their own children, but also help and support other LGBTQ children’s parents.’ There’s strength in numbers and with luck this group marks another milestone for the Indian LGBTQ community and their journey towards freedom.
If you’d like to read about some interesting in-campus support groups that exist for LGBTQ people, click here.
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