India’s journey with the acceptance of homosexuality in modern times has been a tumultuous one to say the least. From a much-delayed recognition of homosexuality through its decriminalization in 2009 by the Delhi High court to the decision of the Supreme Court in 2013 to reverse the 2009 judgement and hand over the responsibility of tackling homosexuality to our hesitant and indecisive parliamentarians, the LGBT community in India has had hope snatched from their hands time and again in an age where their voice and stories are missing from the mainstream. While India recently re-inforced its homophobia by siding with Russia against the UN same sex couple benefits vote, a story out of America has left us smiling and feeling hopeful.
Sandeep and Karthik celebrated their love by having a lavish Malayali wedding in California this January with their relatives and family from round the world being in attendance. “Sandeep and Karthik wanted to be pioneers. They wanted to break all barriers and start a trend which would help others,” a friend of the couple told Newsminute. This may not be the first Indian-American same sex wedding which has happened, with the wedding of Shannon and Seema being covered under our clamour for legalising gay marriage in India as well, but the story is set apart by the acceptance of the families and the buzz which was started back home within the closed online gay community of Kerala.
Sandeep, who moved to the United States in 2008, met Karthik, a US born Palakkad Brahmin, on a dating website in September 2012. The casual acquaintance developed into a strong relationship with both the partners revealing their decision to get married to their families in 2013. The couple were engaged in February 2014 with the date of marriage being set on 18th January, 2015.
The story of Sandeep and Karthik offers hope to millions of same-sex couples in India albeit in a sad fashion. It seems the Indian LGBT community can only seek a free and happy life outside of their country where they are not branded criminals for their identity. Let’s hope that in the near future, such beautiful stories of love are captured on Indian soil, devoid of any prejudice, bias and of course, bigoted laws.
(Check out Homegrown’s Guysexual column- a first hand description of being single and gay in Mumbai by our anonymous but amazing columnist.)
Words: Devang Pathak