It took a week for 25-year-old Tinesh Chopade and 28-year-old Abhishek Sharma to realise that there was something special between them. After meeting each other on a social networking site,they found common interests and decided to live together. The gay couple was seriously contemplating marriage after three years of live-in relationship when the Supreme Court gave a verdict against gay sex. Life goes on and we will continue to live together. Just that we wish to be respected as citizens of the country, the duo said.
Tinesh is the project manager of the HIV prevention programme of Sampathik Trust and has no qualms in coming out. The Trust has reached out to 1,600 Men having Sex with Men (MSM) in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. After the Delhi HC order that decriminalized homosexuality in 2009,it was easier for people to openly disclose their gay status. Some of my family members and friends are aware of my sexual orientation and have accepted me, Tinesh. His partner Abhishek who hails from Ghaziabad,Uttar Pradesh,has been working in Pune for four years and has now decided to tell his parents next month.
I have told my brother who maintained a stoic silence and did not broach the subject later on. But I am firm about our relationship and had the Supreme Court given a favourable verdict,our situation would have been easier to handle at home, Abhishek admits.
So far it has not been difficult as people look at us as two good friends living together and working in a city away from their home,Abhishek said adding that there have been good experiences and not much bullying.
The SC verdict really came as a shock. We have been seriously planning to get married as three years of living together has brought us close. We cook together and like any couple have our share of fights, Tinesh said. Both admit that public display of affection was an absolute no no. We are comfortable with each other and our major concern is acceptance from family members. I have been mustering courage to tell my mother about my gay status. There are emotional issues and I hope they understand that what I have done is not a crime,Abhishek said. A favourable SC verdict would have just been the icing on the cake.
Fast,silent protest,signature campaign against verdict at J M Road on Dec 15
A day-long fast and silent protest by members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex Hijara (LGBTIH) community against the SC verdict that re-criminalizes homosexuality will be held on December 15 at J M Road. A signature campaign will also be undertaken.
IPC 377 criminalizes gay sex even when it is between consenting adults and done in privacy. The LGBTIH community considers this law to be unjust and unconstitutional,Bindumadhav Khire,President of Sampathik Trust that reaches out to 1,600 MSM in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad said.
The LGBTIH community believes that sexual relations between any two adult,consenting persons is a private matter and the law should not step into the bedroom, says Vivek Tigote,trustee at Trust.
Ten persons have been allowed to stage a sit in protest and fast,including Bindumadhav,Vivek and other members of the Trust along with some from the LGBT community. Well-wishers and other members of the LGBT community can participate by signing the petition that registers our protest against the SC verdict and demands a remedy, Bindumadhav said. The petition will be sent to the Chief Justice of India.
It is a silent protest and there will be no slogans or speeches. We will not display any placards. Our members will sport black coloured clothes and will not speak with anyone from 10 a.m. Till 5 p.m, Bindumadhav said.