I was at a close friend’s wedding yesterday. Though a scaled down affair due to the pandemic, it was special nonetheless. I have known her for several years. I witnessed her journey from being ridiculed for her ambitions to becoming a successful doctor; from crying over many failed relationships to finally finding “The One”.
The ceremony was beautiful - intimate, set on the lawns along the Mandovi river, a gentle drizzle showering blessings while the bride and groom exchanged varmalas. The excitement and joy of both the families and the couple's friends were palpable.
As a gay man myself, I can only imagine the plight of my parents. I came out to them at the age of twenty eight. They were extremely supportive. In fact, they wished I had told them sooner so that they could have been of help. It was a dream-like coming out conversation - mature, supportive, encouraging.
Yet, they have to field questions from relatives and friends constantly. "Oh! Your son seems well settled. Aren’t you looking out for a girl to get him married?" "Has he already found his match?" "Aren’t you worried he won't find a good girl when he's older?" At every family gathering, my marriage is the centre of discussions. I have learnt to remain unfazed by it and find humour in the situation.
Sanctity of Matrimony
Marriages are a big deal in India. Gay marriage, on the other hand, is an obscure Western idea that doesn't align with Indian values for many people. In February, the Indian government opposed any move to accord legal sanction same sex marriages. They suggested that laws are enacted by Legislature’s wisdom in a manner concomitant with ‘societal values’ and ‘national acceptability’.
While I hold utmost respect for the institutions of democracy and the process of law making, it is indeed difficult to digest that I need the sanction of the legislature in order for my love towards another human being, albeit of the same sex, to be considered valid. Some say that queers constitute a tiny proportion of the population and it doesn't make sense to create an upheaval in society for a miniscule minority.
I Have A Dream
A few wonder why ‘the gays’ need legal recognition. Section 377 has been amended. If we are no longer criminals for being queer, what more could we want, they ask. While I am grateful for this legal safeguard against arrest, I believe legalising gay marriage is a testament to inclusion and acceptance. It provides freedom from the need to hide in shame or fear. Don’t we have an equal right to pursue our own happiness and fulfill our dreams?
As I pondered over this, on those beautiful lawns by the sea, I strengthened my resolve towards lending my voice to the cause of equality for us queers - created by nature as equals yet divided by human instinct. I thought the setting that evening was magical, for the union of two individuals with full recognition by the society and the law of the land. Someday, this will be possible for me and countless others like me!