Parents who fear social stigma will become more open and accept their children’s sexual orientation without prejudice.
Thirty six year-old Harish Iyer’s mother grabbed headlines for placing a matrimonial advertisement for her gay son. The advertisement has received many responses by now. She said placing the advertisement was not easy as some publications turned it down citing legal issues; some offered suggestions on the way it was worded. For the LGBT community in India, the advertisement is another step forward towards equal rights for them. One that will perhaps make other parents who fear social stigma become more open and accept their children’s sexual orientation without prejudice. Homosexuality is mostly a taboo subject in Indian civil society and for the government. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes sex with persons of the same gender punishable by law. On 2 July 2009, in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi High Court held that provision to be unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults, but the Supreme Court of India overturned that ruling on 11 December 2013, stating that the Court was instead deferring to Indian legislators to provide the sought-after clarity. Homophobia is prevalent in India. Public discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly. In recent years, however, people’s attitude towards homosexuality has changed slightly. In particular, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the Indian news media and in Bollywood.
A gay couple who were married according to Hindu rites, and had their marriage registered in Uttar Pradesh last month, have fled home, as their marriage has been discovered to be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, which does not permit same-sex unions. The case has caused something of a legal conundrum, as the couple, Chunmun Kumar and Simran, maintain that they had informed the registry officials of their gender, though the officials deny this. The latter claim that the couple in question submitted two affidavits, one as a man and the other as a woman.
“We went to Ballia civil court and met a lawyer, who took Rs. 3,000 and asked us to come back after a day,” said Mr Chunmun. According to his report, when they reached the registry office, the officer called his name for identification and he replied yes; then the officer confirmed Simran’s name and he also said yes; after which they were issued a marriage certificate, registered on 29th March. Then the couple had to go through several legal issues and their marriage was declared unconstitutional.
Afternoon Voice spoke to Nikki, a gay working in South Mumbai’s posh saloon. He said, “I am gay but my parents are yet to accept this fact. Moreover, they are undergoing trauma too. Indian moral policing has no limits. Several gay couples are leading a happy life by concealing the truth. But when you disclose these aspects people make news of it.”
“Every parent should be standing for the happiness of their children instead of thinking about the “so called society”. I appreciate the courage of Harish’s mother who went against all odds to post matrimonial ad for her son’s happiness. I wish all parents who know or have idea about their child being a gay, should follow this as an example. I wish Harish Iyer will get all the happiness and the right life partner for him. He is blessed for having a mother like this,” said Amy Chowdhary, Fashion Designer and Advisor.
“It’s a most beautiful gesture and heart of a mother who epitomizes love for her child. A very brave and a large heart which will give courage to many to accept their children as they are,” said Rohhit Verma, Fashion Designer.
Harish Iyer’s mother wants her son to get married and settle as early as possible. So far, there is no record or report of gay marriage breakups.
“It’s not one parent who is struggling, many parents want their sons or daughters to be settled in life,” said Padma Iyer, mother of Harish Iyer.
“It is still very difficult to under-stand what exactly could be the legal issue because gay marriages are not illegal but they do not have legal sanction. Thus there is a difference of something being illegal and something not having legal sanction,” Harish said.
Last month in April 2015, a gay couple got hitched in ‘Bollywood’ style wedding in California! Much like a bollywood love story, the couple met for the first time when they unintentionally bumped into each other outside a store in downtown Modesto. Eli waited for Niel to come out of the store and asked him out straight away. Then, four years later, on Neil’s 25th birthday, Eli proposed to him to be his forever and they finally get hitched in one of its kind gay marriage.
American- Indian lesbian couple Shannon and Seema had got married as per ancient Hindu rituals. The couple got married in a traditional north-Indian style wedding. The wedding rituals were performed by Dr. Shukavak Dasa, who had performed the same sex wedding last year for Shannon and Seema.
Dr Shukavak Dasa told this newspaper that marriage is union of two beautiful souls. Choosing partner to live his /her entire life is someone’s own choice. I am priest and performing rituals is my job. Everyone is equal for God. I don’t see anything legal or illegal in such marriages.
Sandeep and Karthik, got married in California and spread some cheer to the queer community in Kerala. Acceptance of homosexuality might be modern thought, but these two decided to celebrate the acceptance of their families in the most Indian way they could think of – the big Indian wedding. Sandeep and Karthik met on an Internet dating website in 2012. They began to date and were soon inseparable. They sought their parents’ permission in 2013, and in a move that surprised them, both sets of parents gave them the go-ahead. The couple took about a year to organise their grand wedding, in which relatives from around the world attended. The wedding pictures and video have been the topic of discussion in closed online gay groups in Kerala.
“I think it’s absolutely normal for any mother to wish for her son to settle down. My mother is no different. She’s 57, and fears I’ll be alone after she’s gone,” said Harish.
“Last week, she asked me a question any mom would ask her 36-year-old son: “Are you dating someone? Are you fond of someone?’ And when my answer was in the negative, my mom did what any Indian mother would do — she decided to place an ad in a newspaper,” he added.