It’s been 22 months since she came out 6 months since I came out as a mother of a lesbian daughter

It was the evening of Friday, the 30th of December. I was doing my evening puja and my daughter was sitting beside me. My daughter was home for a month. She had graduated from a prestigious university in the US and had secured her dream job in Austin. My son, who is younger than her by a year, was flying in tomorrow from Seattle. My husband will be back tonight. I was looking forward to us being a complete family again.

I was chanting the Lalitha Sahasranamam, praying to the goddess for a good son-in-law for my talented and beautiful daughter. My daughter was chanting with me. She was 26, so of course, my mother-in-law, husband, and I wanted to see her married soon. I finished my pooja and the two of us did our namaskarams. My daughter then tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Amma, I like girls,” she blurted out fearfully.

I looked at the Devi to whom I was praying blankly, then turned to this other Devi beside me in shock! My default weapon, tears, poured down my cheeks of their own volition. My mother-in-law, sitting at the dining table, beamed a benign smile at the two of us. She had heard nothing at all. We were supposed to be a typical Indian family – and this had upended all of that.

I went through the motions of cleaning for the next 15 minutes. Then my impatience took over, I called my daughter to my room and asked her to explain herself. She started talking and crying, and I, being the no-nonsense mother that I am, told her she had no right to cry at the time – after all, I should be the one crying! My mind in a blur took in a few details. She hadn’t told me that she was dating anybody, but I was the one who raised her, so of course, I knew. “Who is she?” I asked. She pulled out her phone and showed me pictures of her with her girlfriend. They were such happy pictures, of them laughing, going on a holiday, in a car; the two of them standing in a pic together, trying to fit a 6’2” tall girl and my 5 ft daughter in a vertical shot! Their happiness and love were clear, how could I turn a blind eye to it! A sense of love overcame me and for the first time after that “coming out”, I just hugged my girl. Over the next few days, I bombarded her with a million questions. Suddenly I found myself turning to the pragmatic side. My daughter likes to tease me that just 24 hours after hearing that life-changing admission, I was back to my marriage planning, asking her if gay people were allowed to get married in Mauritius!

The following week we all went to a Vedanta retreat and I found my answers to many questions. Then I found Sweekar and found many more answers and many more parents like me. Life will answer a few more, I am sure and who said we needed all the answers anyway.

It’s been 22 months since she came out to me and it’s been 6 months since I came out as a mother of a lesbian daughter.

-Janki Ravi