My parents have always been those typical desi parents who gave me a LOT of lectures when growing up about how to behave, charity, what to do and what not to do and probably the most important lesson they taught me was how to treat other people regardless of their beliefs, background, caste, creed, health and above all sexual orientation.

I know what most religions say about “alternative” sexual orientation, but I for one have always believed in live and let live! Having worked in the fast-paced banking and political sectors and now the glitzy world of media, I have come across numerous people from various walks of life – including several from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. While many are not just acquaintances but my friends today, I know (without sounding judgemental) that a lot of people, particularly from our community do not take too openly to this.

Several families fear that their child might come home one day and said ‘Mum and Dad, I am gay.’  This fear stems from what ‘duniya waleh kya bolenge’ (what will people think!). The very fact that the child has been brave even to accept his sexual orientation and tell the parent is very often not even acknowledged or appreciated. This is what makes me really angry sometimes, for isn’t it ultimately about your own child’s happiness? Isn’t a family meant to be strong enough to be able to deal with pretty much every situation? And, I really thought we lived in the 21st century! Much to my own dismay, this is not always the case and many lose their family, friends and life because their nearest and dearest cannot accept them when they express themselves.

As a Presenter I never really get nervous, however, I was a tad concerned when I was asked to host this show. Not because it’s a topic I was afraid of doing but because I wanted to be certain that I would be able to do justice to it. After all, this is a sensitive issue and, and being a live show, one can never be certain if a caller would suddenly say something that may be offensive, hurtful or insulting. However, to my sheer delight we had a wonderful response and the callers were honest yet sensitive with every comment they made.

We had one guest from Stonewall and another who works for a NAZ organisation and is also a ‘drag queen/cabaret Artist’ Asian male who shared their experience and advice. What they kept reinstating was that if ever you see yourself or someone else in a similar situation where you feel scared to expose yourself always remember that you are not alone and that there are several organisations that can help and support people and their families who do not know what to do, cope or even understand what is happening.

Life is often a little seesaw – filled with ups and downs but to get by the tough times it is our loved ones we turn to and depend on. Bill Cosby once said “Even though your kids may do the exact opposite of what you are telling them to do. You have to keep loving them just as much.” Never forget the courage it would have taken for your child to tell you in the first place and all they wants is acceptance from the people they love.