If you haven’t seen this video by blogger and LGBT activist Manjinder Singh Sidhu, which at the time of going to press had garnered over 99,000 views on YouTube, you are seriously missing out on something.
We spoke to the UK-based 28-year-old, who is seen in the video with his mother, 58-year old Swaran Kaur (above, left), who talks about her son’s homosexuality, and advocates that Indian parents should encourage their children to come out and be comfortable in their skin.
Recorded entirely in Punjabi, it garnered popularity when it was uploaded with English subtitles. “Support them. If the world laughs, let them laugh. Don’t listen to the world. It’s just important to listen to your children and let them do want they want to. Don’t pressure them or force them to get married. You should be happy if your child is happy,” is just one advice Kaur doles out in the video.
Manjinder shared with us the experience of shooting the video. “A lesbian Sikh girl from London requested that I make a video with my parents to explain what homosexuality is to her parents. Initially, my mum wanted to just call the girl’s folks but realised others may ask her the same questions so it would be better to make a private video. Had I known it would be this popular, I would have changed my night time pyjamas in the video and put on some funky jeans!” says Manjinder. “After filming and reviewing, we thought it was good and perhaps we could make it public, not knowing the attention it would get and how it would go viral. I would love to see more people around the globe making such videos in their vernacular to start a movement,” he adds.
Speaking about the impact of the video, Manjinder says, “I had an 18-year-old guy from India Skype with me. I was the first person he had come out to. He was scared, suicidal and depressed. I was the first gay person he had spoken to and it gave him great courage. It showed him that whoever he is, is natural and that he can live the life he has dreamt of. I have also received many messages on my Facebook page from straight females who talk of the horrifying stories of being disowned, threatened or kicked out of their homes by their parents for simply loving someone of a different caste, religion or colour. They applaud my parents for not doing the same to me.”