Why you should talk about Sex and Sexuality with your Ma and Pa

Mum and Pa <3

Mum and Pa ❤

 

I very clearly remember this one time my father, my sister and I were watching ‘Gladrags Supermodel Hunt’ on television  way back in 2003-04 or probably before that and they had a swimwear round. So they had all the men and women parading down the ramp in thongs and under-wears and there was suddenly a strange awkwardness in the room. My sister and I looked at each other and my father quickly changed the channel. And I guarantee you this is the story of every middle-class Indian’s household. We never spoke about sex. In fact till the time I was fourteen I still thought sex was a bad word and should be never brought up in a conversation. So now you know I grew up real slow!

When I came out to my parents before my nineteenth birthday, I remember my father smiling at me. But it was his usual nervous smile. He didn’t know how to react. My mother on the other hand was very vocal about her disbelief in her son’s sexuality, condemning it at once and went all berserk saying, “This is all the result of those English films you watch all the time. It’s the Western culture getting into your system.” Then followed those months of crying and cribbing over how God had been so unkind to her and unjust with her and no willingness to accept any logical explanation to her crazy list of questions. Their denial was the toughest part. It was frustrating and I couldn’t believe the fact that it was happening to me? An openly gay guy at his college who’s never let anyone bully him and has strongly asserted his sexuality with pride? But interestingly for the first time in years, my father wanted to talk about sex with me. We had a very long conversation where he brought up topics I would’ve never in my wildest dreams thought of him to be talking about with me. It was insane! We spoke about sex, sexuality, attraction, masturbation to pornography. And I’m so glad he did! But he wished for only one thing from me- to never write about my sexuality openly on a social networking platform, which was impossible for me to do but I totally appreciated the fact that he was only being a protective father. But I also got a very genuine advice from a teacher who asked me to never give up on my parents no matter how politically incorrect their arguments were.

I really wouldn’t have ever expected how wonderfully my father stood beside me every time I was in a fix during the entire phase of me preparing for Mr. Gay World. He held my hand and walked me through the toughest times, gave me a hug when I needed it the most, helped me emotionally and financially without even questioning me twice. Neither of my parents ever questioned me when they saw my pictures in a swimwear, which honestly is a big deal given how we grew up. Coming Out is difficult anywhere in the world and more so for our parents who have grown up in a hetero-normative society. Be real patient with your parents, respect them for who they are because the only people who will stand beside you when you’re in a fix are your parents with their undying support and belief in you. Words fail to express how grateful I am to my parents. They truly are the real support-system in my life and I’m so very blessed to have them.

 

Love and Light

Anwesh

A Gender And Sexuality Glossary For Parents

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I’ve always felt that it is extremely important for people to be aware of the vocabulary that is appropriate to use when referring to the LGBTIQ community, more so amongst kids so as to ensure that tomorrow they grow up to become responsible, sensitive and mature citizens of the country. As a result I collaborated with Swaddle– a parenting website for people who don’t like parenting websites. You can read the entire piece here. Here’s a small excerpt from the piece:

“Only a week after I’d won Mr. Gay World India, I received a call from a television channel. During the interview, I was asked whether I was okay with being referred to as the son of Jagannath Sahoo (my father), or whether I was more comfortable being identified as his daughter.

I was taken aback and, to be honest, befuddled. Here was an educated journalist, from a leading news channel, with absolutely no knowledge of the terminology he ought to use to refer to a gay man. The journalist might have thought he was being courteous by letting me choose how I wanted to be identified. But his sheer lack of awareness was insensitive and offensive. I am a gay man. Why would I identify as someone’s daughter?”

Love and Light

Anwesh