We have talked about different love affairs many a times and discussed their big fat weddings too. But, today we are going to talk about weddings and romance which are unique, not regular, raise eyebrows and yet prevalent in our society. It’s about relationship between same genders and the liberty to culminate it into a marriage. To throw light on the subject, LGBTQ pride month is celebrated every year in June which reflects on the changing attitude of society and its tolerance towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Well, the stereotypes have not diminished and there are people who find the homosexual activity unreasonable and strange. But then there are a few same-sex couples who are happily married despite the struggles, social stigma and battles. In fact, these lovely couples are a shout-out to the members of LGBTQ community to have the courage to follow their heart and be open about their feelings. Here, we name a few.

1. Hrishi and Vinh

same-sex wedding, pride month, hrishi and vinh

This adorable couple did not fear the discrimination and have the legal recognition of their marriage. An IIT-Bombay graduate and US-based engineer, Hrishi Mohankumar Sathawane tied the knots in Maharashtra, Yamatmal with his partner, Vinh who is a Maths professor hailing from Vietnam city.

Ever since the couple met on a dating website, they knew they are meant to be together and there was no looking back. The duo even went on a road trip together in Australia to attend Vinh’s cousin’s wedding and it was during this journey that they came closer and connected with each other. An attraction to the same-sex did not make the either of them any less human or any less male.

same-sex wedding, pride month, hrishi and vinh

In fact, it was quite brave on their part, to be honest with their feelings despite knowing the hardships that would follow. The biggest challenge for the lovers was to make their parents understand the whole affair. Fortunately, their parents agreed and they had a legal wedding in California whereas the commitment ceremony was held in India. They have also planned to adopt a child.

In an interview, Mr Sathawane said,

Ancient Indians were open-minded, and we have proof in the form of temple carvings and literature, we need to claim our culture back.

He added,

“It’s simple, if two people fall in love, and they want to live their life together, without bothering anyone, I don’t see why should anybody have an objection to that.”

2. Shannon and Seema

same-sex wedding, pride month, shannon and seema

Legal tyranny and social-intolerance least affected the relationship between the lesbian couple, Shannon and Seema. Despite the prudent and archaic laws, the girls got married and are living “happily ever after” with full support of their parents and closed ones. Their traditional wedding dream came true in 2013, at Los Angeles, California.

same-sex wedding, pride month, shannon and seema

It was a blend of Indian and American culture at the wedding as Seema is an Indian and Shannon of an American origin. Though they had a grand big fat wedding, this LGBT couple too had their unique set of challenges.

It is a heart-warming love story of Seema and Shannon who met at a boot camp class and instantly fell in love with each other. They were not only of same-sex but also from a different race and origin. Even the laws were against them in their journey of love and in their path of changing the world. Their wedding created a rage on the internet where people criticized them for their indecent act. But then, fortunately, there were friends and people who stood by them.

same-sex wedding, pride month, shannon and seema

Ultimately, the couple united and had an outstanding marriage. From doli and mandap to songs, rituals and adornments; the marriage was complete with all the cultural elements and aspects.

3. Katherine and Swati

same sex wedding, pride month, katherine and swati

This gorgeous couple can reinstate anyone’s belief in true love. Katherine and Swati were studying family medicine at the University of California, Davis where they met each other and became really close friends. Two years later, this friendship culminated into a beautiful relationship and there was no looking back from then. Recalling the whole experience, Katherine once said:

When we first started dating, because we already knew each other well, I was scared. I knew Swati was the one, and I didn’t want to mess things up, but it worked, and there wasn’t much to be scared of after that.

same sex wedding, pride month, katherine and swati

Katherine proposed to Swati in the most beautiful manner. One day when Swati returned home, she received a note that asked her to follow the string. As she opened the door, there was a purple string which was going to different places of her house with fresh flowers and candles everywhere. There also were adorable pictures of the two and love notes from Katherine.

The string led me to the back door where there was a photo album filled with pictures and notes from Katherine cataloguing our adventures together and our love. Through the back door, I saw a pathway lit with tea lights, leading me to our pergola that was covered in purple lights where Katherine was waiting for me with a beautiful Indian gold filagree ring. I was crying when I said yes, said Swati.

Their wedding took place in San Francisco and it had a beautiful mix of Hindu and Christian rituals.

shaadiwish

4. Dr. Aniruddhah Hazra and Dr. Neeral Kamlesh Sheth

same sex wedding, pride month, anu and neeral

Neither law nor could society set Aniruddhah and Neeral apart. They courageously came out of the cultural norms and had a big fat Indian wedding in Chicago. Neeral opened up in front of his family when he was 16 and here’s the reaction he received:

It was difficult for my parents to grasp what it meant to be gay. They were not sure whether this was something that could be changed or not. I was sent for therapy for a short time and there was even some discussion of sending me to India as it was feared that ‘American culture’ was the cause of this.

same sex wedding, pride month, anu and neeral

Anu too received the similar reaction from his family when he introduced Neerav to them as his boyfriend:

They too thought of it to be a temporary phase for me but that changed with time. Bringing home another South Asian made this relationship feel less foreign to them and over time, our parents accepted us with open arms and treated each of us like their sons.

same sex wedding, pride month, anu and neeral

He further added:

It was our engagement which finally pushed our parents to ‘come out’ to the larger community. This, of course, took some time but we are so incredibly proud of them for not shying away and celebrating this amazing time with us and our family.

5. Adil and Saptarshi

same sex wedding, pride month, adil and saptarshi The couple did not battle the courtrooms and streets for their rights and neither did they discuss their sexual preference in public. Adil who is a Muslim and Saptrishi an Indian by origin just had a goal in mind to get married and united. The duo met at a Queer Pride Parade in India where they exchanged phone numbers. Saptrishi planned a surprise proposal for Adil to which he readily accepted. In fact, it was one of the most romantic flash mob proposals that went viral on the internet. A lot of positive comments and posts started surfacing which gave the couple courage to recognize their desire. They soon started planning and dreaming of a fairytale wedding in Greece.

same sex wedding, pride month, adil and saptarshi

Interestingly, they neither had a Muslim nor an Indian wedding. The couple played it safe by opting for a Christian wedding to avoid religious remarks and melodrama.

These lovebirds are not only tug at their heartstrings but are also contributing towards the progressive change in society. So, as of now let’s forget the ‘boy meets girl’ story and watch the violins playing and flowers blooming when a ‘boy meets boy’ and a ‘girl meets girl’.

Neelam Jain
Author

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