Mrs. Keya Ghosh is a lawyer with the High Court at Calcutta. She has been a professor of English Literature at various colleges, as well as a lecturer in law. She is also a LGBT Rights Activist and a petitioner in the “Parents’ petition against Section 377”, presented at the Supreme Court of India. Mrs Keya has a son and a daughter and her son came out to her about nine years ago. Now, from defending her son’s sexuality to defending her son’s friends, she has done it all.
When and how did your son come out to you?
I think he was about 19 when he came out to me.
What was your reaction? Was it easy or difficult to come to terms with his sexuality? Please tell us about your journey.
The first fear that assailed me was that he would be alone and lonely in his life’s journey. However, after I calmed him down and assured him that our love would not diminish, I thought about it, and decided to see how he deals with it.
Many Indian parents often worry about “what others might think.” Though they can accept and understand their children, they don’t support them because of this fear. Did you face any such dilemma?
I never did. As a family, we have never been too concerned about what other people think of what we do. However, the fear that I did have was that he might be ridiculed or ostracized by people who don’t understand different sexual orientations.
When and how did your son tell you about his relationship? Was it easy to accept a future son-in-law?
He is not in a relationship currently.
Do you believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights as straight couples with respect to marriage, adoption etc..?
Absolutely! Our constitution has guaranteed equality to all. If it has to live up to such guarantees, our legal system had better see to it that these rights are met.
Do you believe same-sex couples can be good parents?
While I am unsure of what the child might have to face in an Indian school setting, I have absolutely no doubt about gay parents being good parents.
How did you react to the changes in your son’s relationships? Do you think being gaysi or straight makes it any different?
Being gaysi makes it a little more difficult- I know how I have raised my son to accept and love himself, but that does not mean that his partner would have been brought up in a similar environment.
While the boy himself might be a gem, there are plenty of constraints which he has to go through and which might affect a relationship adversely. Straight people have it slightly easier insofar as you don’t need to explain the basis of your love to society- but with a lot of gay people; they feel pressured to do so.
How do your friends and relatives react when they learn about your son’s sexuality, especially the ones in India? Were there any negative reactions? If so how did you handle it?
They were pretty good about it- and in fact, it has so happened that a friend of mine decided to introduce her gay nephew to him- after all both the boys “love beads”!
What is your message for Indian parents with LGBT children?
Accept them for who they are and what they are. Just like you shouldn’t pressure them to take up a career which they don’t want, don’t try to change their sexuality. In order to please you, they might try and curb their sexual identity, and that might lead you to lose your child.
What is your message for the Indian society that is still struggling to come to terms with the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India?
Grow up! It is HIGH time that we let go of archaic Victorian laws, which Victoria’s own land has already let go!