Recently a US based Indian women Kalavati Mistry married an American woman Miriam Jefferson in the UK. The Indian woman is Hindu and the American woman is Jewish making the marriage UK’s first interfaith lesbian marriage.
The two met at a training course in America and have been together for twenty years. The couple had a Jewish wedding earlier this year in February in Texas in the US. They now married in a Hindu Ceremony in the UK. The couple will be returning to the US after the wedding where they live.
For Kalavati, her traditions are very important for her. She always wanted to spend life with someone in a union and she wanted Miriam to join this union. They got married in the traditional Hindu style wearing the Hindu bridal attire of red sarees and garlands. They even exchanged mangalsutras, an ornament for married women among the Hindus. Although traditions are important to Miriam as well, she was not so invested in the institution of marriage personally. But because it was important for Kalavati, it became important for her too.
In the Indian context their marriage has broken three barriers. First is of course the inter-religion barrier. But with time, Indians have begun to understand that the concept of marriage only in the same religion is an outdated concept and makes no sense. This barrier is slowly and steadily coming down.
The second barrier was marrying a person of another nationality. With Indians migrating to so many countries, again the barrier does not make any sense. Moreover, foreigners have become more accepting and understanding of our culture and vice versa. So recently we have seen a lot of Indians marrying outside their nationality. This barrier is also slowly and steadily coming down.
Now I come to the third barrier- marrying a person of the same sex. Unfortunately, Indians have not yet come to terms with homosexuality. In fact homosexuality and same sex marriages are illegal in India. When someone confesses to being gay, people are scandalized to say the least. And people suspected of being gay attract much gossip and mockery. In fact Kalavati Mistry did not come out for many years due to the taboo attached to being gay in Indian culture. Fortunately for her, when she did come out, her parents were supportive of her sexuality and partner both.
Personally I have come across two gay guys who are open about their homosexuality. And if you think only older people or the uneducated mock or disparage the gay community, you are completely wrong. Most Indians, irrespective of their age and education, have failed to understand the concept of homosexuality and view it either in judgmental or mocking light. Before anything we need to understand what homosexuality is and why it is not funny or intimidating. In fact Indian history has many instances of homosexuality. This only proves that this is nothing new and as natural as being attracted to members of the opposite sex. Since religion and nationality barriers have come down, I am confident homosexuality barriers will also come down.
Thank you for reading and have a nice day J