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Gender orientation: What to do when your child comes out and says ‘I am gay’

With SC decriminalising section 377 of Indian Penal Code people are free to come out of their cocoons and express themselves but for some parents this could be a difficult reality to digest,

On 6th September 2018, the SC has come out with its landmark decision to decriminalise section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises homosexuality. The court has finally said that consensual adult gay sex is not a crime and sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it. While this actually marks a historic moment in chapters of humanity but many parents whose kids don't confine to the societal norms of gender orientation, still are in a dilemma. Many parents still cannot accept the fact that their kids can have a different orientation or sexual preference other than what is perceived as 'natural.' This creates a rift between parents and kids and makes the parent-child bond weaker. This makes the kids isolated and helpless. Often kids who don't confine to the societal gender norms feel lonely and dejected. While the judgement is a welcome change but we know it will take some time for people, in general, to accept it, especially for parents who don't approve of such alliances.

Here is a parental guide:

Let your child talk and express: If your child has a different sexual orientation allow your child to talk to you about it. It's imperative that you do your best to set aside any personal judgments and negative feelings you may have about transgender individuals for now. If you cannot accept your child the way he/she is it makes them feel isolated and disheartened and they might go into a cocoon. This can impact personal development and lead to other kinds of mental disorders later.

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Help your child to reach out to like-minded people: The society at large is judgemental and is going to remain like that for a while. So, you have to take steps to help your child get engaged with other peer groups and people who share the same interests and understand the difficulty of being 'different' in a challenging environment.

Always allow a free flow of communication: Sometimes children who realise about their orientation early in life lock up their feelings fearing that parents can reject them and probably punish them for such thoughts. But if you are a vigilant parent who has noticed signs that could say your child has a different sexual orientation allow your child to talk about it openly. It is necessary for you as a parent to help your child explore his thoughts and behaviours better. This can only happen when a child is loved and cared in the home and accepted the way he/she is.

Say it's OK to be different: Sometimes they might feel guilty for the way they are because of societal pressures. This is the time when as a parent you should extend all your support to help your child know that it is ok to be different. As parents, it is your job to help your child break free from societal norms and accept one's individuality.

Guide them to be better human beings: Your child is more than his gender or orientation. No matter what never give up on your child. You still have to do your duties to help your child grow and flourish as a beautiful human being. Teach them the right values, morals and ethics that shape them as caring souls.

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