A marriage of convenience. Sounds like the name of a Mills & Boon, doesn’t it? It’s much the same, the only difference being one or both parties in such a marriage are gay.
A couple of weeks ago, the Non Resident Indian, an online magazine for NRIs covered the issue of gay men being forced into heterosexual marriages. The magazine begins with a reference to an article run by The Guardian which goes as follows:
The Guardian recently published the article Gay men become victims of forced marriages. It reported that the UK’s Forced Marriages Unit (FMU) recorded an increase in calls to its helpline, going on to say, ‘Men in some communities are being forced into marriage because their families suspect they are gay or bisexual’.
Such incidents are a manifestation of the attitudes of desi parents, both Indian and abroad. Almost every Indian (or indeed, person of subcontinental origin) needs to affirm to his or her community that they have instilled in their children good, family, desi values. And what better way to do that than by getting your child married?
Going by figures, one in every fifteen people (figures range from 5% to 10%) is homosexual or has homosexual tendencies. Which leads us to the obvious assumption that millions of people in heterosexual marriages are in fact gay (or bisexual). So what do such people do?
One may of course choose to (or rather be forced to) abstain from acting upon their desires or be married and indulge in homosexual behaviour on the side (an alternative that is equally undesirable).
The third, and by far the most desired alternative is to enter into a Marriage of Convenience (MOC). The term for such a marriage is Lavender marriage according to Wikipedia. A Google search throws up a whole bunch of links and innumerable threads and posts on forums. Sample this:
I am a 28 year old cultured Hindu Gay Male, looking for a marriage of convenience with a lesbian or bisexual girl. I am working in UK, and my family is in India. I come from a highly educated and cultured family. I am looking for a girl, preferably of Indian origin, though, other nationality, religion or ethnicity is also acceptable. The girl should be is in a similar position as me and should like to share a meaningful relationship based on mutual understanding, friendship and companionship.
Increasingly, gay men and women are choosing to enter into an MOC so that they can continue with their chosen lifestyle. Many such couple gain a friend out of such a marriage along with continuing to keep their folks happy. An MOC is probably the best option in a situation where a person is either unwilling or unable to oppose family obligations and prevents a situation where a third party is harmed. Considering that so many people continue to be involved in gay relationships even after marriages, getting into an MOC where both parties are well aware of their roles is an infinitely preferable option.