Prayers for Bobby: Are we killing our own children?

Prayers for Bobby is a simple, heart-touching film. It does not boast of fancy locales, cutting-edge technology or high melodrama. Rather, it tells the story of a mother who is guilty of killing her son through her actions and her journey towards redemption. So Bobby is a teenager who grows up in a close-knit family in the suburbs with the dream of becoming a writer one day. But to his utter dismay and fear, he discovers that he is not like the other guys his age. Bobby has a secret and he realizes that this secret would turn his world upside down. Unable to deal with the torrent of questions and doubts that plague him day and night, Bobby attempts suicide. However, his failed attempt brings his secret to the limelight and all hell breaks loose in the happy family. Bobby, who has always been his mother’s favourite child, discovers revulsion and rejection in his mother’s eyes. He fights a losing war with himself, torn between his own happiness and his mother’s rejection of who he is, until one day, unable to come to terms with her repulsion, he leaps from a bridge.

As one might have guessed by now, Bobby was gay. He was one of those who the society tags a ‘freak’, an ‘abnormality’. His mother’s obsession with purging Bobby of this ‘disease’ makes her blind to her son’s struggles. She fails to see that Bobby is dying everyday, a little at a time! Bobby’s suicide starts to feel like a murder: a murder of an innocent at the hands of societal norms, the murder of a child at the hands of his own mother due to lack of acceptance in her! Bobby’s fall is the fall of humanity into the abyss of prejudice and discrimination. When Bobby dies, so does a part of humanity. The movie pokes the latent but vicious dragon of social stigma in the eye.

Bobby and many others like him die everyday. All we do is come up with opinions, counter opinions and more opinions. Here is a society that only excels at debating. Questions are many, answers are pre-formulated and prejudiced opinions. What goes unnoticed in the cacophony of voices are the lives that are at stake. Social stigma and the fear of being a social outcast are becoming inconspicuous but potent weapons of mass murder. In such a scenario, are we not becoming guilty of genocide? All it takes is acceptance and support from the dear ones, from the ones they love. The taboo that we associate with LGBT is not something made in the heavens. It is not something that we should blame on the gods and religious faiths. The taboo is born out of our minds, out of the lack of acceptance in us, out of our disbelief, out of our rejection of anything that is a little different from what the masses do! And such a taboo can only disappear the day we decide to let go of our faulty prejudices. After all, god only helps those who help themselves. The syndrome of homosexual discrimination and detest does not have answers in the holy books. The only cure lies in our minds and perceptions. So before you call someone ‘gay’ or make fun of a guy because of his ‘girly’ mannerisms and vice versa, spare a thought. Would you have done the same had people discriminated against you for choosing choosing tea over coffee?

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