“I realised, a decade after my college years, that my sexual orientation or rather inclination towards a gender is not what my parents would expect out of me,” quotes Shaileja Pundit, an artist and social media influencer.

Homosexuality is a much debated topic over the years and unfortunately, only a handful of people in our society tend to understand this. For the rest, it is still akin to a disease or a mental disorder and nothing short of criminal that their children should be kept wary off!

Homophobia exists and is responsible to a great extent for denying several people of their choice to live life on their own terms.

This year, June has been unofficially recognized as the pride month because of its historical significance. Pune also saw a pride parade last week to rise in solidarity with the LGBTQI community. 

But experts like city based leading psychiatrist, Dr Manish Bajpayee opine, that it isn’t a disease that needs medication. It is a condition, rather a choice of living one’s life that an adult makes.

“I have had parents coming with their kids to ‘treat’ this problem and this is a disease according to them,” says Dr Bajpayee.

Parents need to understand that it is a condition, a choice of living that the individual has chosen for himself. It is any kind of attraction that one feels for someone of the same gender, which may or may not go over time.

Counselling can be done, but that might have near to no results. But they are still forced to undergo it, just for the satisfaction of the parent.”

Explaining more about her quest of being a “friend of Dorothy”, Shaileja adds, “I always liked my girl tribe like any normal girl would do, but unlike those, I wasn’t attracted to swarthy muscular or sometimes chocolatey boys or even the actors of B-town and the reason I realised when I left college.

It is fine as long as I am living away from the family, but I am sure, my parents would respond in the same fashion, much like any other typical conservative family would.Then, choosing between my choice and my family would be tough.”

Mikesh Bagshi, a corporate employee, explains how he was given the taste of loneliness when he broke the news to his parents.

I never thought that my parents would respond like this. They were very forward when it came to girlfriends, making life decisions, or even smoking or alcoholism. But I think they are only okay with the things which do not cross the boundary of the so-called society and is restricted to the walls of the house.

They knew, if I choose to be in a relationship with a boy, their upbringing would be a topic of discussion.

Hence they completely cut me off from all my male friends and even began to look for girls to get me hooked. I was kept at home for at least a month, until I managed to convince them that my career was at stake and I need to return to Pune,” Mikesh adds.

“I have done my quota of visits to my psychiatrist’s clinic this year, when I disclosed that gender wasn’t something that attracted me to a person,” says Aaron.

“It was difficult for them to even accept their son wearing nose pins and makeup and expectedly worse to stomach the harsh reality that they somewhere realised.

“They believed this was a mental condition, or a result of work stress and lack of girl friends, that led me to ‘being obnoxious’.

Medications and counselling (conversion therapy) was what they got me into, even when the doctor told them that they needed counselling, on how to deal with a homosexual. And counselling wasn’t necessary for this 32-year-old guy who runs his own art gallery.”




#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents ( names changed to protect privacy) and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them. 

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur