“I always believed love has no gender and Dipan and I have proved it.” – Tista Das
Featured in Times of India, India Today, Brut, Metro, and Vice, Tista and Dipan’s ‘Rainbow Wedding’ has made waves across the world. Kolkata’s first transgender couple, the two met three years ago when Dipan visited SRS Solutions Kolkata at Agarpar, a center that provides medical and legal services to trans individuals. What first began as a friendship swiftly grew into love during Dipan’s sex reassignment surgery process.
It has not been an easy journey for them, having been ostracized in their struggle for acceptance from their families. It took some time, but Tista’s mother has long been steadfast in her support from the beginning, and was the only parent at the event.
“Dipan is a nice person. I am happy Tista has chosen someone like him.” Dipan’s family did not attend the wedding celebrations, but that didn’t dampen the couple’s spirits on their special day.
Dipan proposed in 2018, and the pair announced their engagement through social media on April 15, 2019 (National Transgender Day of Visibility). Wedding cards were sent out, designed by Tista herself, the invitations chronicling their journey and how their union was about celebrating trans rights – and the two tied the knot a few months later, on August 5th.
The wedding was like any other traditional Bengali Hindu wedding, full of colour, sound and emotions. Around a hundred guests of members of the transgender community, friends, and family gathered in Agarpara for the rituals and joint-reception. Draped in a red banarasi saree, Tista was every bit a quintessential Bengali bride beside the groom, as the pandit chanted mantras and they exchanged garlands.
While many around the globe cheered for their life together, they still faced some dissent and criticism within their community in the state. Many believed that a cisgender man could be a transwoman’s ‘savior’, while some members of the transgender community criticized the couple for potentially diverting attention from the transgender rights movement. Between the debate of the mainstream and the marginalized, the two remain strong and steadfast in their bond, their choices, and their mission to fight for the community.
Despite this momentary struggle, happier news was yet to come, when on December 14th, Dipan’s family had come down to Kolkata to meet the couple – they’d finally accepted Dipan’s identity and their relationship.
“Initially, they couldn’t recognize Dipan as this was the first time they were seeing him since his surgery in February. However, it was an emotional moment.“
The two legalized their marriage at the registrar’s office in Sodepur under the Special Marriage Act on December 31st, 2019. Tista said there was a special reason in choosing the date:
“We wanted to start 2020 as a legally married couple and that is why we chose the last day of 2019 for this special event.“
The couple now enjoys their marital life in the Kolkata suburb of Agarpara, living with their four dogs and eight cats.