This LGBTQ story about a mother accepting her son will move you…
Even though section 377 has been abolished, not all members of the LGBTQ community are lucky enough to be accepted by the society and even family… This story of a mother learning to accept her son will bring a smile on your face and make you realise how important this acceptance is…
“I always wanted to be the kind of mother whose kids felt comfortable sharing everything with. So, even when they grew up, I knew what was happening in their lives, or, so I thought…One day, when Ribhu was 25, he came home and said, ‘Kuch batana hai!’ I was convinced he’d found a girl for himself and was ready to settle, but the conversation took a different course when he said, ‘I’m gay.’ I blurted, ‘Are you sure?’ When he said ‘yes,’ my heart sank. It was a lot to process, that my son was a member of the LGBTQ community.
At first, I refused to believe it. I couldn’t believe my son’s queer identity. And then I started thinking, ‘What will people say?’ We come from an orthodox family in Bengal. Moreover, my husband was a government employee. Also, back then, Section 377 was still functional, and being a member of the LGBTQ community was a crime. I didn’t sleep that night.
The next day, I tried to reason with him, ‘Maybe it’s a phase? Meet some girls; you might like them.’ But when Ribhu firmly said, ‘You can choose to not accept me, Maa. I’ve found a family in my queer friends, but don’t belittle me like this.’ I stopped. The next morning, Ribhu left for Mumbai for work.
After he left, I tried talking to him, but in vain. Even if he did answer my call, he was disinterested. I could see my son slipping away. So, I called his roommate to get through to him, but he gave me a reality check – ‘Aunty, he just wants you to see him like you did before, as his son and not as a gay man!’ That stirred something in me. I realized I’d disappointed my son, and I needed to correct that.
And then, a month later, the verdict on Article 377 was to come out. Coincidentally, Ribhu was coming home that day. So, when the verdict was favourable, I was overjoyed and called him up. I told him, ‘Now no one will call you a criminal!’ He was surprised; he had no idea I’d been following the proceedings. Then his father and I made a placard that read, ‘My son is not a criminal anymore!’ When he entered home, I hugged him tight and said, ‘I love you, son; I’ll always be proud of you.’ It was an emotional day for all of us. 3 months after his confession about his sexual orientation, I finally saw my son smile again. Ribhu came out to the world as a gay person that day!
It’s been 3 years now, and I’ve unlearned and learned so much. In fact, I speak to parents who have trouble accepting their kids who are now a part of the LGBTQ community. Someone had done it for me once, and I’m just trying to pay it forward. But there’s still a lot that I still have to do – once the pandemic ends, I’m most excited about attending my first pride parade!”
Humans of Bombay is here to bring you ordinary people’s extraordinary stories. In sharing this story, we hope you take away the fact that all that the LGBTQ community needs is acceptance. If you’d like to read more such stories, check out our book and dive into the diverse tales of Bombay.