Dr Kedar Padte
Parenting a teenager today is nothing short of a cliffhanger today, and any orthodox approach to handling the teenager in the metropolitan world can send the parent-child relationship into a toss. A few years ago when my child mentioned that she was going to a party where some of her friends were same sex guys, I told her she would rather not go. I was carrying a concept of same sex relationship as a crime (in our forensic text book homosexuality was listed under perversions, and was listed under violent sexual approach too).
My daughter said: “Papa they are perhaps the sweetest and the most polite guys I have known.”But what she said later was an eye opener.
In the traditional world sexual relationship has to be a male female phenomenon. It has been in nature for rightful procreation, so why change this? Is this change of same sex relationship recent or ancient? How should it be taken? Is it good or bad? Is it acceptable or not? What is the impact on the person, family and society at large?
Lesbianism is perhaps as old as the Homo sapiens and yet the first mentions are by an ancient Greek poet Sappho. She wrote love poems to women. Female homosexuality was common place on the island of Lesbos.
Socrates, Lord Byron, Edward II and Hadrian have had gay applied to them.
By Freudian analysis all humans are born bisexual. Sigmund Freud’s views were based on original libido endowment. The libido is believed to have a homosexual and heterosexual element. By virtue of physical, environmental, cultural, social and perhaps educational conditioning, heterosexuality dominates and rightfully so for the purpose of self and species procreation. However, selection of homosexual libido is perhaps not in the hands of the individual and may naturally occur is some individuals.
Oedipus complex is an ancient phenomenon. Homosexuality may be an element of inverted Oedipus complex. Individuals love for oneself is defined as narcissism. Freud explains that people with high traits of narcissism would be more likely to develop homosexuality because loving the same sex is like an extension of loving oneself.
While it is extremely difficult to get exact figures of homosexuals in any given country, even the most developed countries find it difficult to keep records due to secrecy and legal rights of individuals.
Be that as it may, surveys conducted in the European nation s indicate a 1 to 4 per cent existence of homosexuality. France, in 1992, expressed a 4 per cent incidence in men and 2 to 6 per cent in women. In the less developed countries the prevalence is up to 1 to 2 per cent. In 2016 in Germany, 5 per cent women were identified as homosexual or bisexual.
LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender is a term to understand. Sexual development begins when a boy or girl is in his or her pre-teens (8 to 12 years). Physical interaction with intimacy often happens between boys and girls at this time. Touching and arousal are known phenomena at this age. Rather than reprimanding a child and ordering isolation, a parent has to take a friendly view and participate in an open sexual education conversation with one’s child.
The leadership quality of a parent with friendly and understanding attitude cannot be overemphasised. While those who are heterosexual need guidance towards safety, those sitting on the fence may benefit a lot from proper guidance from a counsellor or parent. It is also important that those who become confirmed homosexuals should also be treated with respect.
There is no need to treat the gay, but accept his or her condition without prejudice. Imposing treatment can result in psychological derangement and at times violent repercussions.
The pre-teen and teenager should be given the chance to read books and literature on the issue and make a personalised choice of the sexuality he or she wishes to follow.
Many countries have now legalised same sex marriage and these couples have children as well.
To complete the conversation with my daughter I said: “These gay friends of yours should be counselled to become heterosexual.” She retorted “It’s you and the parents that need to be counselled, not my friends. If you have left behind your dialer phones and picked on smart phones and iPhones, please leave behind your ancient thoughts and face the era of the morrow.”