Because two brides are better than one. Here is a small tete-a-tete with Priya and Paula, lovely newly married women. Their confidence and love for each other is an example for many who are waiting to find the right push to make the next move. Enjoy!
Interviewee: Priya & Paula
Q1. Where and how did you two meet?
Priya: We met on a dating website a couple of years ago. My subscription was nearly running out, and given my previous luck on the website, I wasn’t too keen on renewing my subscription. Paula was the last person whom I messaged on there! We met within a few days of exchanging numbers, in London.
Paula: We met on a dating website, which I had been on for perhaps six weeks or so, and I was losing the will to live, with some of the people I was speaking to. Then Priya messaged me, who I was reluctant to start chatting with, given that she was few years younger than me. But, I thought I would give it a chance. She seemed to love animals and that was a big plus. We met in person few days later…
Q2. Was it love at first sight?
Priya: For me, it was totally love at first sight. I felt so warm and comfortable around Paula and we both had a feeling of similarity and togetherness from the minute we met.
Paula: To a degree, I told myself not to run away with the romantic notion in my head. I thought she was so much prettier than her photos. Her pictures definitely don’t do her justice. I knew very quickly that I loved her, but I had become quite guarded as a result of my experience in past relationships. So, I just kept an open mind.
Q3. How long have you guys been together? Relationships are a lot of work, aren’t they?
Priya: We have been together two years now. I personally think good matches, makes relationships a lot easier. We have had our ups and downs, and we will continue to have them. However, we know the bad times only lead to better times ahead, and I am an optimist, especially when it comes to my relationship with Paula. She has turned my life around – for the better in so many ways. It’s pretty incredible! I only picture great things for us in the future.
Paula: I would say any relationship is work and takes work, whether it is a friendship, being a child to your parent or a romantic relationship. Although, my relationship with Priya is the easiest I have ever experienced. Any problems we have experienced have mainly been life circumstances, and we have always remained strong.
Q4. Who dropped the “M” word? How did it happen? Tell us!
Priya: I have never shunned away from the idea of marriage and commitment, but for some reason never imagined it would happen for me. Until I met Paula. We had discussed marriage and knew it was an eventuality for us. However, in August 2014, I was on the course of popping the question. But, Paula beat me to it! It was a whirlwind six months after, and here we are… Mrs and Mrs in 2015.
Paula: I always thought Priya would propose first. I imagined, maybe 18 months or two years being together she would have proposed. But, things just panned out differently and much to my shock, I found myself in the driving seat.
Q5. Tell us about your marriage ceremony. And be honest about who made most of the decisions?
Priya: I am spiritual, but not keen on Indian ceremonies and customs. Besides, I didn’t have much family in the UK to attend the ceremony. It was just natural for me to go for the registry ceremony followed by the reception party for friends. I did make most of the decisions, and even Paula will agree with this! It was a lovely day, and even the sun shone bright during the gloomy British winter.
Paula: Oh, god…I am totally useless! haha. Without a doubt, I left Priya to organise everything. We knew we were not going to have anything extravagant, and wanted it to be quite personal. The one thing I did wish was to be married where my parents got married 40 years ago, in Hornchurch, London. I wasn’t conventional at all, and wore an Indian outfit (churidaar), which I loved as I got to wear my favourite colour, pink.
Q6. Unfortunately Gay relationships are mostly short lived, do you think it’s even harder for Queer women?
Priya: I think relationships in today’s world are short lived. Period. In this age of Tindr and all these dating apps, not many people are looking to invest time, energy and emotions into anyone. It becomes even more difficult for queer women, given the culture of ‘the grass might be greener’ syndrome, where women are always looking over their shoulder to see something else might come along! Even though, not everyone thinks like that, luckily I found my soul mate who was never a fan of the serial-dating culture either. I did get lucky!
Paula: I don’t think it’s harder for queer women. Marriage and relationships are all about perseverance and not giving up so easily at the first sign of trouble, as long as you love one another and want the same things.
Q7. Are you guys out at work? How do your colleagues react when they come to know about sexuality and/or relationship?
Priya: I have been out at work in London. People have always assumed I was straight and attitudes are a lot of more relaxed, so I haven’t faced any hostility. But, it remains the usual outlook, that people will usually assume you to be straight. I do need to keep coming out over and over again!
Paula: I have always been very open about my sexuality. I am not ashamed or feel awkward, although it can be really annoying constantly coming out! Most people have been very accepting. There’s been the odd occasion where you experience someone being homophobic and not liking that you are gay. But, it’s something that you can’t make me feel inferior over.
Q8. From your experience, do you have any tips for other gay couples?
Priya: I think to be open and out, depending on the circumstances at work – you have to be the judge of that – is the best way forward. From the offset if you are confident in your sexuality, people will just accept it from the off start. I live in the UK where there are a number of laws to protect you from discrimination and it really helps. I always count my blessings and feel very lucky!
Paula: Any relationship needs to have a healthy balance of being with your friends and family. Always remain positive for the other one and remain supportive. Nobody can go wrong if both of you always aim to make each other happy.
Q9. Have you experienced first hand homophobia?
Priya: I have experienced homophobia in one of my previous jobs, where my colleagues were mostly south Asian men, with regressive attitudes about women, homosexuality. I am hardly the one to take any of the nonsense they were spewing about women, gay people and life choices! We had many heated arguments, and once it got bad enough, and I walked out during a shift. Luckily, my manager took it seriously when I complained, and they were given formal warnings. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again with anyone I work with again.
Paula: I have never experienced anything bad, touch wood. I have had the odd remark, where people call you ‘dyke’ or something of the sort, but that doesn’t bother me. I did come out in an all girls catholic school, and I got the odd look or glare from some of the girls with an attitude, again I consider myself very lucky. My friends were brilliant and for me, it was a very good experience.
Q10. Do you think in our lifetime India will allow Gay marriages?
Priya: To be very honest, I do sincerely hope it does happen. But, realistically speaking, there are just far too many religious, sexist and misogynist bigots and organisations run by them in the way of achieving equality. Going by the way things are going, there is little hope, at least for the next 50-100 years. I do hope, it happens though and India wakes us and smells the coffee.
Paula: I am optimistic. I might be old and frail with dentures, but hope it will happen towards the end of our lives at least. It saddens me that India only recently re-criminalized homosexuality, when the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction.