Madras HC Orders Parents Of A Same-Sex Couple To Get Counselling So They Can Accept Their Children Better
There is a huge disparity between law and attitude of our society. While same-sex relationships have been decriminalised in India, such couples often face a lot of stigma in our culture. From being able to rent apartments to adoption, it’s not easy for them. Socially too, there’s insensitivity and teasing which makes it difficult for many people to even admit to themselves that they may be inclined towards the same sex. However, often, what is even more difficult for same-sex couples to tell their families.
If your family is not open-minded and consider same-sex relationships a “phase” or a “disease”, how are you going to tell them you are in one? The Madras HC came up with the perfect solution for this that works on the problem’s very root.
Two women have been in a same-sex relationship for two years. One of them is a 22-year-old pursuing MBA, the other is a 20-year-old undergrad student. They filed a petition in Madras HC seeking protection from their parents while they were voluntarily living together as two consenting adults.
They said they love each other and see each other as life partners. However, their parents being conservative did not approve of their relationship. Following that, their parents had been forcing them to break up. Left with no choice, the two women left Madurai and were being taken care of by an NGO. The parents of the women expressed concern about the situation. They felt they were not ready to immediately accept the relationship. In fact, they were worried for the safety of their daughters.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh took time to understand the issue with an open minded and encouraged their parents to adapt a more liberal mindset too. He stated, “To be open, I am also trying to break my own preconceived notions about this issue and I am in the process of evolving and sincerely attempting to understand the feelings of the petitioners and their parents, thereafter proceed to write a detailed order on this issue.”He advised them to consult psychologist Vidya Dinakaran to counsel them and demanded a report on the same on April 26, 2021.
#LGBTQ couples who enter into committed relationships do so out of love. Such love is divinely inspired and supported. Why aren't we supporting love and commitment? We call on .@Pontifex to rescind the ban on blessing #samesex unions.
— Call to Action Metro NY (@CTA_Metro_NY) March 24, 2021
The judge may have his preconceived notions but he is aware that there is dire need to challenge those. He made a successful attempt at handling the situation with more sensitivity and wisdom. Of course, he could simply offer them protection. But would that really change the mindset of their parents? This may improve their relationship as well as their parents might actually realise they are not respectful of their children’s rights. We don’t know if the counselling will help or if it will be like talking to a wall but there is some hope and that’s good enough.
— Rahul Sharma (@talk2rahuls) March 30, 2021
Sometimes, it’s ignorance and years of social conditioning that make people hold on to outdated notions. They just don’t know any better. They may not be as emotionally intelligent as others. In fact, they are clearly not as woke as many but with counselling they might become! This is a stellar move because at least that way, their parents will be forced to take counselling. They would never have volunteered for that!
ALSO READ: Same-Sex Marriages Still Seem A Distant Dream, Courtesy The Hidebound Nature Of Our Judicial System
“The therapist told me when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity, parents don’t affect the outcome at all, they just affect how their children feel about themselves,” a mother of a LGBTQ teen was quoted by The Washington Post. Joe Kort, a clinical psychotherapist and author of LGBTQ Clients in Therapy added, “If you’re a high rejecting family, you’re going to put that child in harm’s way. Suicidality will increase the more rejecting the family is.” Acceptance by family can make a lot of difference and hopefully, this move should help the same-sex couples to re-establish a healthy relationship with their parents.