What We Learnt About Reacting To A Loved One Coming Out, From Dutee Chand’s Story
When ace sprinter and track champion of India, Dutee Chand, came out of the closet, she was met with a mixed bag of reactions. She may have won the hearts of hundreds of others ranging from the LGBTQ community to the proud and famous comedian Ellen DeGeneres, but from her own kin, however, the reaction was far from that of support or pride.
Coming out of the closet can be one of the most difficult yet liberating acts. Not knowing how your family will respond to a part of your identity that you’ve grown up being told is a sin, doesn’t make it any easier. But what can make it easier is the faith and support of your family in you and your choices. And the best, or in this case the worst thing about it is that even a little is enough.
The 23-year-old recently revealed that was in a same sex relationship with her ‘soulmate’ for over 5 years now. However, sadly, the biggest reason for her going public was because her elder sister Saraswati had been blackmailing for a sum of 25 lakhs, with the threat that she would announce her relationship and sexual orientation to the media. Dutee’s mother, Akhoji Chand was also not in support of her. What was already emotionally taxing for her turned into a psychologically traumatising experience. What happened with Dutee is in fact the story of many others from the LGBTQ community. Her family’s reaction is an example for what not to do when a loved one comes out. In light of which, here is what you should do instead:
Don’t react on an impulse
Chances are, they have already rehearsed this moment of truth a hundred times before coming to you. An impulsive reaction from you might just scare them back into their shell. Rather than saying something that you may regret later, and would never be able to take back, it is better to keep calm, let the news sink in, and not drop any bombs right away... or at all for that matter. Listen to what they’re saying, and don’t let your impulses get the best of you.
Don’t judge them for their “choices”
We don’t choose our sexual orientation, and even if we could, the mandate to be with a member of the opposite sex makes no logical sense. To judge someone for who they are in love with is not just insensitive, but as a close family member, it is the last thing they need. A family member’s acceptance can be validating and comforting in a way nothing else can.
You may be blindsided by this new fact about your family member. But, if they reach out and confide in you, give them the support they need to make them comfortable, and let them know that you have their back no matter what.
Image Source: Indian Express, Pexels