Society is gradually accepting the LGBT community. A greater awareness has led to this change. To broaden this understanding, a Sikh mother and son duo are trying to bring about openness among the South Asian LGBT community in the UK. They help parents accept the “natural” sexual orientation of their children, shed inhibitions and move ahead in life.
A Masters in Human Rights from University College, London, Manjinder Singh Sidhu has made several You Tube videos, a few with his mother, in various languages, offering advice to the LGBT community and their family members.
Talking to The Times Of India, Manjinder said that he discovered that he was attracted to men when he was 13. “God made me this way and I must accept it. I decided to focus on my studies, get a good job and live the life the universe has bestowed upon me.” But it took Manjinder 14 years to come out and tell his family about he being gay.
“I was 25, living in Israel, working for the United Nations and severely depressed as I had to hide this truth from them. One day, I just texted them that I was gay. Surprisingly, their reaction was very positive. They were relieved that their son was finally communicating with them and still loved them. This brought out my activism and I began to work to lift the `purdah’ (veil) off LGBT topics in our community,” Manjinder added.
He started off with talks on radio and television, and then began to shoot videos. “I was approached by a lesbian from London with a request to shoot a video with my mother so that she could educate her mother on LGBTs. Initially, the video was meant to be for private use, but my mother gave the nod for making it public because of its immense potential to make a positive impact. We had no idea that it would go viral,” stated Manjinder.
In one of the videos, Sidhu’s mother, Swaran Kaur, explains the connotation of homosexuality for parents and answers her son’s questions. Manjinder asks his mother, “What advice can you give to the parents whose child tells them he or she is gay?” She candidly replies, “You should accept it and not tell them to change”.