Parental support shines at Hyderabad Pride march: Families proudly advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights for offspring

The revival of Hyderabad's Pride March saw spirited participation, including supportive parents and queer families, celebrating diversity and social acceptance.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Feb 15, 2024 | 1:51 PMUpdatedFeb 15, 2024 | 1:51 PM

Parental support shines at Hyderabad Pride march: Families proudly advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights for offspring

Following a year’s hiatus, the LGBTQIA+ community, along with their allies, breathed life into the streets of Hyderabad on a balmy Sunday afternoon, 11 February, with the resumption of the Queer Swabhimana Yatra (pride march).

This marked the ninth edition of the march, boasting around 500 spirited participants. Embarking on a 4.5-kilometre journey from Raidurgam to Shilparamam, an arts and culture hub in Madhapur, the procession was a vibrant spectacle. 

Participants decked themselves in the hues of the rainbow, their presence punctuated by the waving of queer community flags.

The march, beyond its festive exterior, stood as a symbol of social and self-acceptance, celebrating achievements, legal rights, and the inherent pride of the LGBTQIA+ community.

However, of particular note was the heartening presence of elderly individuals, including parents of LGBTQIA+ individuals, albeit a modest contingent.

South First seized the opportunity to engage with them, their children, and several younger attendees.

Also Read: Satrangi Mela helps the queer community of Hyderabad 

On a parent’s duty

Among the marchers, popular belly dancer Sravan Telu took part in the occasion with enthusiasm along with his mother, Kalpana Telu. For Kalpana, societal opinions regarding her son Sravan’s gender identity hold no sway.

Sravan Telu with his mother Kalpana Telu. (Ajay Tomar/South First)

“People may say what they wish, but their judgments hold no bearing on my convictions. When we lived in Vijayawada, amid a thriving transgender community, it became evident to me that every individual deserves respect and dignity,” she asserted.

Kalpana practices the belief that a parent’s role is to support their child’s autonomy, irrespective of societal expectations. “Our duty as parents is to navigate forward with courage, refusing to comply with societal pressures. I implore other parents to embrace this. As for relatives’ opinions, they ceased to matter to me,” shared the 50-year-old.

For Mary Esther, another parent-participant at the march, it took a period of introspection, to come to terms with her daughter Patricia Chris’s choices.

“For years, I confided to her about my identity, though initially, she struggled to fully comprehend. However, six months ago, after I shared about my romantic interests, she had a newfound understanding,” Patricia shared. Her mother chimed in, stressing the importance of respecting individual autonomy, mirroring Kalpana’s sentiments. “My child’s happiness takes precedence over societal expectations,” Esther asserted.

Also Read: Chennai’s LGBTQIA+ community marches towards a more inclusive society

Parents who are queer

Dawson X, accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter, emphasised the significance of exposing children to diverse perspectives.

People at Hyderabad pride known as queer swabhiman yatra

People at the Hyderabad pride (Queer Swabhiman yatra). (Ajay Tomar/South First)

“As queer parents, my partner and I believe in providing our child with exposure and freedom to make informed decisions. Bringing her to events like these is crucial as it exposes her to our community’s diversity. We’ve already initiated conversations with her about love and relationships, ensuring she comprehends the spectrum of human affection,” Dawson elaborated. His daughter, in a moment of spontaneity, juxtaposed her drawing of a rainbow flag with an actual queer flag, symbolising her understanding and acceptance.

A 40-year-old queer parent, who requested anonymity, stressed the need and importance of normalising queer parenthood.

“As a queer individual, I’ve been open with my children about my identity. Despite societal stigmas, I’ve instilled in them the importance of self-acceptance and exploration. I trust them to navigate their own paths when it comes to their sexuality,” said the parent.

Safe spaces

Harish Reddypalli, an HR professional from Mumbai, highlighted the potential of such Pride events for the older generations.

Performances at Shilparamam Vedika after the Hyderabad pride march

Performances at Shilparamam Vedika after the Hyderabad pride march. (Ajay Tomar/South First)

“It would help elderly people understand different kinds of sexualities, as it provides a safe space. When I came out to my family, my mom asked, ‘Will you wear a saree? Change your name?’ and several other questions. So, such events would acquaint parents with real-life experiences, unlike the stereotypical portrayals they see in movies of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Here, they can converse with different sets of people and understand that being queer is normal and that they are not from another universe,” he explained.

Johnny Eve, a local from Hyderabad, pointed out how the media’s role in normalising LGBTQIA+ narratives was crucial.

“Media coverage of Pride events not only educates the masses but also showcases parental support, challenging societal norms. By spotlighting diverse sexualities and identities, media platforms aid in destigmatising LGBTQIA+ experiences,” Johnny noted.

Also Read: Kerala government launches ‘Pride’ project

Challenges unseen

Thoutam Niharika, a teacher from Warangal, highlighted the unique challenges faced by parents in rural communities.

“In tier-two cities and villages, awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues is scant. Exposure to events like these could catalyse change, yet societal backlash remains a formidable obstacle. Many parents face ostracisation upon returning to their hometowns. There is an urgent need for broader societal acceptance,” Niharika lamented.

However, Dr Prachi Rathore, one of the two transgender doctors appointed by the Telangana government, along with Dr K Ruth John Paul, notices a gradual evolution in societal attitudes.

“Since my appointment garnered attention, attitudes in my hometown have begun to shift. Parents are increasingly supportive, irrespective of gender identity. As more individuals embrace their truth, societal perceptions will inevitably evolve,” Prachi affirmed.