Couple : Sameer & Amit
Where and how did you two meet? Was it love at first sight?
Sameer: We got connected through GayBombay’s mailing list. Amit was looking for friends there and I responded. We both were based in the Midwest and I thought it would be cool to have a Desi gay friend in the US. We talked on the phone for a couple of months. We were just friends at that time.
Amit: During those times, we used to talk on the phone, for at least 3 hours every day. Now, I wonder what in the world we talked about!
Sameer: Slowly we both realized, we had fallen for each other
Who was the first to ask for a date? How did it happen? Tell us!
Sameer: Amit asked me out. It was very romantic. At that time, I was working in Columbus, IN and Amit was a student in Cleveland, OH. He was going to school there and was paying tuition, so obviously our spending habits were not the same. Amit still planned the evening quite well and made sure it was very enjoyable. He sent me a cute e-invite asking me out. We met at a cozy Mexican restaurant in Columbus, IN. He got me a card and flowers and treated me very well. It was the most simple yet extremely beautiful and satisfying evening. Inspite of his student status he did all these things and that mattered to me a lot. I was very touched to see his love and affection.
Is this the first relationship for the both of you or you guys have dated, been in relationships before?
Sameer: I had feelings for two of my close straight friends, obviously they didn’t go anywhere. I mention this because no matter how irrelevant my feelings were to my straight friends, they were very sincere and to me they were special. I had gone on dates with a few guys, but nothing serious.
How long have you guys been together? Relationships are lot of work, aren’t they?
Amit: We have been together for 7 years now. When we started living together, both of us had to do lot of adjustments but with time, things got easier. Although we both are Maharashtrians, and grew up in similar middle class backgrounds, our personalities are very different.
Sameer: I am an impulsive, spur of the moment person whereas Amit is very planned and organized individual. In a way we are like yin and yang and may be that’s why we get along well with each other.
First Date : In a Columbus restaurant in Columbus (Tapatio)
First Movie: We don’t remember
First Kiss:When we met for the first time in Columbus
Anniversary: September 18
How did you come out to your parents about your relationship? What was their reaction?
Sameer: When I told my parents about my sexuality, Amit and I were already in a relationship, so I told them about our relationship immediately. They were shocked to know about my sexuality, but knowing that I was not alone, sort of helped them. Slowly they are taking it all in. I think it’s a work in progress and I believe it will be.Indian parents have a lot to learn and know about homosexuality.
Amit: My coming out was unplanned. I was out to my sister and actually wanted to wait for a few years before coming out to my parents. It just happened by accident one day. Obviously it was very painful and hard for all of us. We all were in tears and the days that followed were very awkward. Their acceptance didn’t come easy, it took 3-4 years! During those years, apart from several other things, I also took them to a psychiatrist, which helped them understand that homosexuality is natural.
Are your siblings supportive?
Sameer: My sister Sheetal and her husband have been extremely supportive right from day one and that means a lot to me. I really think I would have gone into a depression if her support wasn’t with me throughout this process. She also helped me navigate my discussions with my parents on this topic. Sheetal regularly participates in Gay Pride events and other GLBT supportive causes and I am SO proud of her and her hubby. God should bless every person (gay or straight) such loving and caring sibling.
Amit: My sister on the other hand is not that supportive. I think she just tolerates it. She understands that I am Gay, but refuses to accept it. She has adopted a policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It’s very hard to not be able to be yourself with one’s own sister, but I am slowly getting used to it.
You had a big Hindu wedding! Please tell us all about it.
Sameer: Amit proposed to me on my birthday on April 21, 2009. It took us almost one year to plan our wedding. Our friends, my sister and her family played a key role in making our wedding a big success. We both live and work in Columbus, IN so it made sense to have our wedding there. Also we met for the first time in Columbus, so it was special that way too. We had around 60-70 guests including our close friends, coworkers and some of our relatives.
Amit: We got married in traditional Maharashtrian style with all the rituals (sapta-padi, agni fere, ukhaNe etc.). It was extremely meaningful for us both. We modified some of the rituals to make it appropriate for a same-sex wedding. For example, one of the ritual is called kanya-daan, where traditionally the bride’s father gives away his daughter to the groom. We modified the name to Var- Daan (meaning giving away of grooms) and did it on both sides.
Sameer: We were innovative in modifying the rituals, but at the same time we made sure the gist of the ritual remained intact. Our wedding was the happiest moment of our lives.
Would you like to get legally married someday? Do you think India will allow Gay marriages in our lifetime?
Sameer: We both would like to get married legally. I hope India would legalize gay marriage one day. I don’t know if that will happen in our lifetime, considering Indians are so hush-hush about sex and sexuality. It’s a irony that India is the creator of Kama Sutra and still discussions about sex and sexuality are such a big taboo in our country. Unless a big cultural revolution happens, I don’t see Gay Marriages becoming legal in India, anytime sooner.
How is married life?
Sameer: We lived together before the wedding, so life it pretty much the same But of course, now people around us are treating us as a couple and that feels very nice. Getting used to having a ring around our fingers took some time, but other than that it is a great feeling and an amazing experience.
Amit: Indeed! I feel very lucky and blessed that I was able to marry the love of my life! Even among straight people, it is rare to find true love and to marry the love of your life.
Most South Asian kids grow up in conservative families, with typical gender roles. At times same-sex South Asian couples struggle to come to terms with the new and unfamiliar structure. How is it for you?
Sameer: It’s very simple. I enjoy cooking, cleaning etc. (roles that are traditionally meant for women) and Amit is more into fixing things, mowing lawn etc. So, it’s works out well. Equal distribution of chores! LOL. Also the fun part is, compared to straight couples, same-sex couples don’t have strict gender roles, so if we don’t feel like doing chores on a give day, we don’t have to!
Unfortunately many Gay relationships are short lived. What is the secret behind your success?
Sameer: Communication, Respect , Love that transcends beyond 6 pack abs and body types and a strong desire to make the relationship work.
From your experience, do you have any tips for other Gay couples?
Sameer: Believe in love and the power of love. Don’t give up! As gay people, we do not have social support system that will help us find our soul mate, so we have to work hard for that. Understand who you are, your likes and dislikes before jumping into a relationship. And hey, there is no such thing as the perfect boyfriend!
Amit: I agree. Just follow your heart. Be prepared to compromise and make sacrifices for your love. Try to see beyond physical appearance, you want your partner to be loving and caring, not just good looking. Remember, lust is short-lived. And remeber to communicate. Without Open and honest communication, relationships can’t sustain.
Would you like to have kids?
Sameer & Amit: As of now, Yes. But our answers keeps changing So, who knows what will happen!
Have you experienced first hand homophobia?
Sameer: Yes. In lots of places and situations. I usually fight back if I feel it is worth doing it. If not, I ignore and move on. There are better things to do in life.
If you could magically become a straight couple, would you do it? Why or why not?
Sameer & Amit: We won’t. Marriages fail even among straight couples. Many straight folks take everything for granted, so sometimes they don’t appreciate the privileges they have in life. Guess, being a minority has give us a different outlook and appreciation about life — not sure if we would want to trade that
Pet Name for your partner:
Sameer: That’s TMI! Ha ha
His Sex Appeal:
Sameer: Caring attitude
Amit: His cute smile, Pretty eyes and mischievous attitude
Things you like most about your partner:
Sameer: He is a goal oriented, caring and extremely humble human being. He has passion for life and does not shy away from expressing his love for me
Amit: He is a great friend and a mentor. He is always willing to help others
Things you like least about your partner:
Sameer: He can be short tempered at times. He is a planner, while I like to do be more spontaneous.
Amit: He likes to help people, even it means less time to his partner!
Your perfect Bollywood Gay/Lesbian pair would be:
Sameer: John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor
Amit: For me, it is John and Shahid!
Your favorite Queer themed book & Movie:
My Brother Nikhil