One of my colleagues recently stated that gays are always sentimental, depressed and emotional; as if these conditions are natural if one is gay. But were we born with these conditions? No! They were inflicted upon us knowingly or unknowingly, which if we trace back to our childhood, will help us to understand.
I began to get confused about my sexuality when I was around 7. There was something that got me attracted to men at that very early age. And I didn't know there could be the remotest possibility that there are other guys who are experiencing the same. The visuals and texts around me suggested that a man is to be paired with a woman. The thought that I could be the sole person in this world to have such thoughts and not knowing where to seek help could be one of the early traumas I had to go through. I remember the numerous conversations I had in my mind talking to God, begging to throw some light. What I ended up receiving was more and more chaos. Why many gay men are prone to high level of anxieties and depression episodes? This chaos could have probably caused that. When we were kids, our tender mind was subjected to multiple levels of internal battle, more than it could handle. And we didn't know how to reach out to our parents for help, because we doubted whether they would understand us or the worst case, they could stop loving us.
Studies suggest that in the absence of a reliable caring adult, such intense trauma could lead to disturbing the neurochemical balance in the brain, decreased brain growth, and negatively impacting the neuronal pathways. The after-effect of these developments are long term which means they will be carried throughout a kid’s adulthood resulting in low self esteem, depression, anxiety, social and attention problems, behavioural disabilities etc.
Such self-inflicted emotional abuse can be the most dangerous form of all abuses. It makes them weak within, not able to protect themselves, not able to stand up for themselves. This insecurity could in turn attract bullies and sexual predators seeing that they are an easy target, leaving them exposed to even more traumatic episodes. By the time, the kid attains adulthood, the mind is scarred beyond repair and the aforementioned after-effects keep haunting him. Add to that the social stigma, the pressure to lead a double life, the nagging of parents and relatives to get married - the world doesn't appear rosy at all for most of the homosexuals.
These vicious series of events can be prevented to a large extent by the people whom the child searches for when he feels scared or threatened. The parents.
At a time when parents are given the responsibility to give their children the first sex education (from the age of 3 onwards), it is utmost important that they discuss about sexuality and tell them to be gay friendly. The benefits of this approach can work out in two ways.
One. If the child indeed turns out to be gay, he wouldn't have to go through the endless circle of emotional trauma. He knows where to reach out to when faced with perplexity. Knowing that his parents doesn't love him any less can give him the strength from within, the ability to face the world without any underlying turbulence, and lends him the emotional health equal to that of his straight peers. Not to forget that only when one is sound emotionally can he invest in deep love and healthy relationships.
Two. If the child is straight, he has already got a clarity on gays from the people whom he considers as reliable source, leaving no room for misconceptions about homosexuality. The chances of him turning out to be homophobic would be minimal and would not face the mental block in accepting gays as equals.
Therefore, as you see, the solution lies within the home.
And now ponder upon how this solution is inherently present in the case of gay parents..
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka with their kids
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