A quick post to share two resources.
A Mumbai-based parent whose daughter is a lesbian is starting a support group for desi families and friends. Parents, relatives, and friends of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — as well as anyone who identifies as LGBT who would like to collaborate in developing this process of dialog — can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please feel free to share this contact information widely.
All emails and identities will be kept confidential.
I am so excited about this because I’ve gotten to know this mom, Chitra Palekar, a little bit, and her enthusiasm for this issue is wonderful. She is one of a group of parents who signed a petition as part of the legal case to decriminalize homosexuality in India. She has done several media interviews to help promote the legal cause; on CNN here recently, she debated (and demolished) a rightwing pundit who tried to say homosexuality is against ‘family values’ — by discussing her own family, and modeling love and support for her own daughter who was there with her. She is an acclaimed Marathi filmmaker herself. She is doing this with the support of Queer Ink and Humsafar Trust, and the goal is confidential parent-to-parent communication.
To read a brief article about Chitra’s journey, click here.
The idea of a group for parents/families has been a topic of conversation and ideas for at least as long as I’ve been out (20 years!), and even longer I’m sure. I think it’s wonderful that there is now a parent who is taking public leadership on this topic.
I also want to recommend the new award-winning documentary, “I Am” by Sonali Gulati:
I Am chronicles the journey of an Indian lesbian filmmaker who returns to Delhi, eleven years later, to re-open what was once home, and finally confronts the loss of her mother whom she never came out to. As she meets and speaks to parents of other gay and lesbian Indians, she pieces together the fabric of what family truly means, in a landscape where being gay was until recently a criminal and punishable offense.
The film is currently making the rounds and there are screenings all over the world in June, July, and August 2011. For dates and locations, as well as to see the beautiful trailer for the film, click here.
As one of the reviews of Sonali’s film notes, the take-home point is when the mother of one of the queer young people proclaims: It is “not necessary that you be alone.”