Jab We Met : Always Be True to Yourself


Couple: Amy Shah and Amanda Pyron are partners in an interracial same sex relationship in the United States. Amy is a first generation Indian-American, her parents are Gujarati. Amy and Amanda have a 19 month son, Evan. Ms. Shah and Ms. Pyron had a commitment ceremony in Chicago in 2007 and later obtained legal domestic partner status in Washington, DC.

Where did you two meet?
Amy & Amanda: We met online at Craigslist.org

Was it love at first sight?
Amy: No, but we definitely liked each other’s company and it grew from there.
Amanda: True. Amy and I met as friends and spent time together as such prior to dating.

Who was the first to ask for a date? How did it happen? Tell us!
Amy & Amanda: Since we started as friends, it is difficult to pin down our first date. We were both trying to meet more lesbian friends and went to a lot of the same events. Our first kiss was on a dance floor at a club in DC. And the rest, they say, is history.

Tell us about the proposal
Amanda: I proposed to Amy.  It wasn’t a total surprise since her Dad was gracious enough to make our rings. However,I did surprise her with dinner at a favorite Indian restaurant and the proposal at our still in construction condo. A small party with friends followed.

How long have you guys been together? Did you have a wedding ceremony?
Amy & Amanda: We have been together since 2005 and had our commitment ceremony in 2007. The ceremony was held in Chicago and was attended by about 200 people. It was a fusion of western and Indian cultures. We had Indian prayers during the ceremony as well as a minister who helped us exchange vows and rings. We had bridesmaids, flowers, pictures, etc… During the reception we had Indian food served followed by Indian Bollywood style dances and songs performed by relatives. We ended with free dance to Indian and western music played by a D.J.

Relationships are lot of work, aren’t they?
Amy & Amanda: Actually, this relationship hasn’t been difficult at all. We both are very compromising and generous. We have a blast together and now we are having even more fun with baby Evan!

Tell us about a regular day in your lives around your little tot.

Amy & Amanda:
Weekends :
a. 6:00 a.m. wake-up, bottle and change (that is when Evan wakes up!)
b. 7:00 a.m. breakfast and play
c. 9:00 a.m. Mama and Evan go to “mama and me yoga” (on weekends)
d. 11:00 a.m. lunch
e. 12-2:30 nap
f. 2:30 – 5:00 play dates/parks/social gatherings
g. 5:00 – 6:00 dinner
h. 6:00 – 8:00 family time, bath, bottle and down for bed at 8:00 p.m.

Weekdays : The schedule is pretty much the same, though he has a nanny during the day since we both work full-time. With the nanny he goes to museums, puppet shows, the park, art and gym classes, etc… We share our nanny so that Evan has a playmate during the day.

How do you divide parenting duties?
Amy & Amanda: We evenly distribute all family duties, with one of us working early and coming home early while the other partner begins and ends her workday later. We both enjoy spending time with Evan and even doing the “dirty work” of changing diapers!

How do you deal with the questions (if any) about who is the father of the child?
Amy & Amanda: Fortunately, we aren’t often asked this question. We have a great community of family and friends who are supportive and with whom we can be honest. When we are asked this question, we tell the truth-that we are in a same sex relationship and used a donor. Fortunately, attitudes towards same sex relationships are changing. In fact, “Parenting” magazine, a mainstream parenting magazine in the United States, recently did a feature article on same sex parents!

Do you seek to provide your children with male role models?
Amy & Amanda: Yes, we do. Luckily we have plenty of male relative and friends we see on a regular basis. We also have both grandfathers that are involved in Evan’s upbringing.

As same-sex parents, do you find yourself consciously thinking about issues of gender and sexuality when raising your children? For e.g. – Buying your child a toy like a ‘girl’s Barbie’ or a ‘boy’s truck’ – Do you stop to wonder if you are imposing gender norms by such simple choices?
Amy & Amanda: I do not think about imposing gender norms on my child. Basically, we promote whatever Evan is interested in… currently he loves buses, trucks, going to the park, and going down slides (face first!)

In raising your child, do you believe you should treat your diversity in sexuality or concept of family any different from diversity in culture, religion or nationality?
Amy: No. We live a very open life. We are out in every aspect and have friends that are gay, straight, inter- racial, a variety of religions, etc… I don’t think about being gay and more or less than I think about being Indian or female.

Given that you are a family in every way, what are your feelings on other people determining the legitimacy and legality of your existence of a family?
Amy: Being raised as a first generation Indian in the U.S., I have had to deal with a great deal of prejudice, particularly attending a school with no other Indian children. As a woman, I have also had to deal with the inequalities and prejudices posed on me while being raised in a male chauvinistic Indian society. Considering this, by the time I was 18 I had developed “very thick skin” and basically didn’t let what others think affect me at all (whether it is being Indian, female or gay). I currently work for a firm that completely supports my family and provides great benefits. We have recently decided to move to Maryland from Virginia because of the more accepting laws toward same sex couples and adoption. We are lucky in that we are able to control most of what is happening to us.

Recently, Mr.Amod Kanth from Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), said that “Gays can’t look after a child. Children need both a mother and a father”. Please comment.
Amy & Amanda: The position of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) is in complete opposition to the leading scientific studies on same sex parenting. Over one million children in the United States are being raised by same sex couples. A recent study by Tufts University demonstrated that children raised in same sex relationships suffer no consequences as a result and are no different than peers raised in heterosexual relationships. In fact, children raised in lesbian households performed better academically than their peers raised in heterosexual households.
The most important factor for children’s growth and development is love. All children should be raised in a loving, supportive environment. Children should not be used as objects by which political groups seek to score points.

From your experience, do you have any tips for other Gay couples?
Amy & Amanda: Just be happy and safe and always true to yourself. Life is too short worrying about what others think or surrounding yourself with people that are not fully supportive of you.

Pet name for your partner : PLB (Princess Little Beethoven for Amy) B to the C (Baby Cakes for Amanda)
Things you like most about your partner : Amanda is Intelligent and generous ; Amy is responsible, funny, and supportive
Your perfect Bollywood Gay/Lesbian pair would be: We wish Rani Mukherjee was gay!
Your favorite Queer themed book & Movie : The Kids are Alright, Fire

[Thanks Broom, Queer coolie & Shiva Subbaraman for helping us with this interview.]

Don’t miss Gaysi’s article on Same-sex parenting!

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South Indian, Sambar lover,Subramanya Bharathi fan, Rebel, Bleeding heart liberal, Writer, Dreamer, Die-hard romantic and Queer. Twitter: @shrisadasivan

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