I didn’t know anything about homosexuality till I went to study in UK.
As a child, the church indoctrinated me from the very young age that homosexuality is a sin, so I never even spent any time thinking about it as it was something that didn’t exist in my life. Even after leaving the church system, homosexuality still wasn’t part of my life, it was also not part of my medical curriculum. We were never taught anything about homosexuality as if it is something that didn’t exist. The only gay person I knew while doing Medicine was Freddie Mercury ! But again he was a famous singer and his sexual orientation didn’t matter to me. In my world all inhabitants were straight.
During the student orientation day at my University in UK, I was given a bag full of pamphlets and student news papers. When I waited for the bus to go back home, I went through the pamphlets and I was scandalized! There was a full news paper for gay people. I quickly threw it off in the bin before anyone could see me reading it, let alone hold it in my hand.
But slowly, I met normal people who didn’t share the same sexual orientation as me and I learned that they are just like me..humans..with the same ideals and goals that I have with the only difference is in their choice of sexual partners. I learned that I do not have any right to judge another person based on their sexual orientation. Today if I am upset, the first person I call is my best friend who is a Dr and is openly gay. He is compassionate, gentle and has a sense of humor that rivals mine. When he calls me “darling” in a typical Aussie drawl it makes me smile.. He makes me see the silver lining in every grey cloud and I am fortunate to have him in my life.
Today, I can tell you I have come a long distance from the person who threw away gay newspaper without anyone seeing me to a mother who doesn’t care a bit if my children turned out to be gay. My children’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to me. They are my children, be they are straight/gay/bi. However, If my children are gay, I want them to be able to get married to their partner if they want to and no one should tell them they can’t.I support same sex marriage because no government/church should ever have the right to determine who can live with whom.
No child should ever be ostracised for their sexual orientation. No society to should ever judge someone for their sexual orientation.
I am proud of you Padma Iyer, you have finally made India to have an open debate about homosexuality.