‘Sweekar : The Rainbow Parents’ group formed in Mumbai

Parents of LGBTQ children have come together to form a support group that aims to offer support to other parents

The second meeting of the Parents Support Group was held recently in Mumbai with even greater participation of parents of LGBTQ children. The day long meeting was attended by 13 mothers and fathers who discussed amongst themselves about taking ahead the support group in an organized manner.

They have named their group ‘Sweekar: The Rainbow Parents’ and hope to become a nodal point for networking, advocacy and outreach for parents of LGBTQ children.

Starting with sharing of personal stories of how they came to know about their child’s sexuality and how they made the journey of acceptance, the parents then discussed ways to involve more parents, and also planned future activities of the group. The conversations were held in Marathi, Hindi and English.

The meeting was facilitated by Solaris Pictures, as part of its outreach activities for the upcoming feature film Evening Shadows (Surmaee Shaam) directed by Sridhar Rangayan.

Chitra Palekar, mother of a lesbian daughter said, “‘Sweekar: The Rainbow Parents’ is a group formed by the parents of the LGBTQ children with the aim of supporting each other to accept one’s child fully and be happy as a family. The members of this group met to share their own acceptance stories; to freely express their concerns in the safe and confidential space; exchange information about related issues and empower each other through solidarity. We hope more and more LGBTQ parents will join the group and through acceptance of their own children, transform the perceptions of the society”.

“This meeting was an eye opener for me. We heard some soulful touching stories about the parents. The fact that we were just parents meeting parents helped us open up. There were facilitators who helped with their expertise in furthering and shaping the conversation but this is precisely a parents’ driven initiative”, said Padma Iyer, mother of equal activist Harish Iyer.

"Being a member of a parents’ group has made a difference in many ways but the obvious is being able to meet others like me. It is a place where we feel completely accepted and do not have to defend. We can discuss all kind of problems of parents as well as children go through and have combine solution for it”, said Aruna Desai, mother of a gay son who has also contributed to the film Evening Shadows and is one of the co-producers.

First time attending the meeting, Arundhati Sanyal, another mother who is proud of her gay son said, “The group discussed the difficulties faced by their LGBTQ children and were trying to find solutions for the same. In doing so they are trying to protect the human rights of their LGBTQ children”.

Echoing the sentiments, Pradeep Divgikar, father of Sushant Divgikar, said, “The frank and free discussions led to sharing and caring, which are so integral to the ethos of this Group. The day long meeting cum workshop witnessed a greater degree of camaraderie between the parents who vouched to provide unflinching support and commitment to children from the LGBTQ community and parents who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality and consequent acceptance, fearing societal stigma and ostracism.”

“It was decided to have a more focused and structured approach as a Group to become more effective and relevant”, he added.
‘It was heartening to see a greater participation this time by parents who are making this group happen. I know how much courage and emotional strength each of them need to be out there, supporting their children. It was really touching to hear each one of them, and we hope the Sweekar banner will fly high and encompass more parents to give them strength and solace”, said Sridhar Rangayan, who was one of the facilitators of the meeting alongwith Saagar Gupta, creative director at Solaris Pictures.

Solaris Pictures has offered 10% of the money they raised through crowdfunding for the film Evening Shadows (Surmaee Shaam) which is a feature film about a mother-son bond that has to withstand the ravages of harsh truths. The film stars Mona Ambegaonkar, Ananth Mahadevan, Devansh Doshi, Arpit Chaudhary and others.

The first meeting of the parents support group was held earlier this year in February and had 10 parents participating.

Trailer of film Evening Shadows (Surmaee Shaam): https://youtu.be/iDpqasfWF9k

EVENING SHADOWS (Surmaee Shaam):