Shocking news: Gay Indians are getting married!

Newsflash: Gay couples are getting married! And some of them, believe it or not, are Indians!Marriage

Yes, it's true! Mansi Choksi of The Times of India has done some investigative work and uncovered same-sex marriage ceremonies in Durban, Seattle and Toronto involving Indians. "These warm, happy stories may sound unbelievable given the stream of stories of social hostility against gay people," Choksi writes, "but the fact is that same-sex marriage ceremonies have been performed in Indian households, rich and poor, and in cities and small towns alike."

Choksi has even found evidence of same-sex marriages in India, where homosexuality is still considered a criminal act.

A Mumbai activist from Gay Bombay confirms that there are reports of marriages every week, whether it is a lesbian couple in Punjab or Kerala or gay men in Gujarat or Delhi. [Link]

Police Inspector: "Sir, I've heard reports that the lesbian couple got married."

Police Superintendent: "Which lesbian couple, the one in Punjab or Kerala?"

Inspector: "I'm not sure, sir. I will check with the gay men in Gujarat and Delhi."

Superintendent: "Also check with that activist from Gay Bombay and that other activist from Straight Bombay."

Ashok Row Kavi, who pioneered the opening of the closet in India, says he knows several couples who have tied the knot. "There's one big plus-point about Hindu priests," says Kavi with a straight face. "They'll forget about everything if you show them a few bucks." [Link]

Now that's really offensive. Hindu priests are just like priests in other religions — you have to show them a lot of bucks.

Choksi offers a few real examples of gay Indians who got married, though none who currently live in India.

For San Jose residents Arvind Kumar and Ashok Jethanandani too, exchanging vows in Arvind's brother house in Toronto was the most memorable day of their lives. Arvind, a board member of the California Native Plant Society and Ashok, editor of India Currents magazine, met when they were in their early 30s. "We became roommates and then lovers," says Arvind.

Arvind and Ashok were married in a traditional Indian ceremony complete with dhotis and agni. "Ashok and I are very sentimental people, we thought it was a great idea," he says. It was Arvind's mother, who had once adamantly rejected his sexuality, who came up with the idea. "When my family realised that what I had with Ashok was not 'timepass', they accepted us in their own way. He is very special to my family."

Timepass? That reminds me of the time I was 12 and my mother found me in the bedroom with another boy.

Mother: "Hey, what is going on? What are you two doing?"

Me: "It's just timepass, Mom."

Mother: "What kind of timepass is this?"

Me: "We're just having a little fun."

Mother: "Fun? Can't you have fun without hugging each other like that?"

Me: "We're not hugging each other, Mom. It's called wrestling. Haven't you seen it on TV?"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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