Chapter to provide support for families coming to terms with the sexuality or gender express of a loved one (South Asian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans+ people
A new chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Canada is being formed in Peel with a mandate to focus on the unique needs of the South Asian Diaspora. The chapter will meet monthly to provide a safe space for support for those coming to terms with the sexuality or gender expression of a loved one.
“The coming out process can be challenging in any culture, and South Asian families face their own unique challenges, such as how other members of the community will react, judge, or reject. Now there is a venue and community support for these families,” say Sushma Agarwal
Co-founder with husband Vijay Aggarwal, and Author of ‘Loving My Gay Child – A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance’, who came to terms with their own son’s sexuality.
The Launch event being held on Sunday, April 17 at 11 AM will have The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and other dignitaries in attendance.
PFLAG Peel, with a focus on the South Asian community, has a mandate to raise awareness and provide support to families with South Asian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans+ people. Meetings will be held monthly as early as May 2016.
What: Launch Event of PFLAG Peel (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
When: Sunday, April 17, 11:00 AM – 2 PM. Official remarks will begin at 12:00pm.
Where: Versailles Convention Centre, 6721 Edward Avenue Mississauga, ON
Who: The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and other dignitaries will be in attendance. South Asian authors and other members of the community will also offer unique interview opportunities.
Why: To provide a space and support for families coming to terms with the sexuality or gender express of a loved one (South Asian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans+ people)
Interviews Available with:
Sushma and Vijay Agarwal, Founders PFLAG Peel
Like many parents, Sushma and Vijay Agarwal expected both of their sons to grow up, marry a lovely girl, and raise a family. When their younger son told them in 2004 that he was gay, Sushma was devastated. She wanted to know why this had happened to her family, who was to blame, and what she should do next.
To come to terms with her son’s sexual orientation, she began to educate herself about homosexuality, a topic that Sushma had no exposure to. She went to counselling and attended PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meetings. After much soul searching and many conversations with her son, husband, and others, Sushma accepted her son for who he was.
In Loving My Gay Child, Sushma reveals how she came to terms with her son’s orientation, shared the news with friends and family, and finally threw a beautiful traditional gay Hindu wedding for her son and his fiancé.
After her journey with her gay son, Sushma vowed to help other parents, especially those in the Indian diaspora, cope with the pain that comes when a child reveals he or she is gay. Her hope is that Loving My Gay Child, written by an Indo-Canadian author from a mother’s perspective, will help others come to terms with their feelings and accept their children for who they are. She believes that all families, regardless of their culture and traditions, can overcome the hurt and shock they feel after learning that their loved one is gay.
Sushma currently lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband. She enjoys playing with her grandchildren and studying spiritual teachings on human behaviour