[Views are personal and don’t reflect those of Gaysi Family’s.]
Kiran, 51-year-old, is working with LIC in Mumbai, and his boyfriend Ashton, 47-year-old, is working as an engineer in London. They met in a park years ago and since then they have been inseparable. I caught up with Kiran to discuss their experience living a gay life.
Interviewee: Kiran Jadhav
Q. Where and how did you meet your boyfriend?
I was working in Goa after finishing my education in Pune, which is my hometown. One evening, my gay friends and I was sitting in a garden and enjoying the moment. Ashton was also there, but all alone. I said to my friends “look at this guy. He looks sexy.” My friends bet that I wouldn’t be able to convince him to go out on a date with me. I challenged them saying, “you all have to give me a treat… some drinks if I win.”
I kept staring at Ashton consistently. He noticed me once and smiled. I mustered some courage and approached him. Ashton talked to me generously. I found out that he too was gay. We talked for a while and then I asked him to excuse me because I had to take the treat from my friends as I had won the challenge.
However, Ashton asked me for a date the same evening. I said that it was not possible but he insisted. I asked him to wait for me to return after finishing my drinks. I was somewhat sure that he wouldn’t wait for me, which is why I carelessly asked him to wait.
When I came back, I found that Ashton was waiting for me. I could not believe that he waited for me for about four hours. That impressed me a lot. We had some drinks in his car and shared some kisses and then went back to our own places. That was, for us, the start of falling in love.
We then began meeting more often. The more we would spend time together the more the love between us would intensify. I have met many men before but meeting Ashton was different. It was as if we were made for each other. Since then we both stopped meeting other men for hookups or dates.
Q. How did you know you are gay?
Although there was not much talk about homosexuality when we were young, it was obvious that I was different from others since my childhood. Whenever I would watch movies or songs I would get attracted to heroes, but not the heroine. For me, the most handsome and attractive hero is Jeetendra. I would watch his songs on TV every time it would air. I would even get attracted to male guests and acquaintances who were older than me, but I have not been attracted to women ever. That is how I knew that I am different.
I was also lucky enough that I had not gone through many struggles to know myself. People began meeting me for having ‘good times’ since I was around 11-year-old. I was sent to a hostel after the 10th board exams for further studies within Pune. There, I met more who were like me. So I did not have many dilemmas as to why I was different and why I was not having an attraction towards the opposite sex. Men of my like kept meeting as life went along and I kept enjoying gay life without giving it any second thought.
Q. When did you come out to your family and how?
I never felt like coming out to my family even though they have insisted that I find a girl to get married to. I kept enjoying my gay life in the closet. The reason was that my parents are very orthodox. My father is no more now, but my mom is alive. She won’t understand all this so there is no point in coming out to her. My elder brother, an engineer, and elder sister, a doctor, might have sensed my queer sexuality as they stop asking me to get married a long time ago.
However, I had come out to my boyfriend’s family. Initially, they were not happy with us but as time passed they began accepting us. But they held some false notions about being gay, like they would think we sleep with every man we meet. It was frustrating, but we had no other option than to tolerate it.
I think our families’ problem did not matter much to us, because we were independent financially from a very early age.
Q. Have you experienced explicit homophobia? If yes then how did you manage?
Fortunately, I never faced a homophobic incident in my life. But, my boyfriend faced it. Once he had an affair with a church father. The conversation over the landline phone between my boyfriend and the church father was heard by his sister.
My boyfriend’s sister scolded him a lot but that ended there only. It did not cause a bigger mess. However, Ashton’s family would always blame me if something bad would happen to him saying I have ruined his life.
Q. Are you planning to live together in future?
Yes, we are working out as to how we can stay together either in India or in London. However, we don’t feel like we are not together. Our hearts are together, we are away from each other only physically.
Q. Do you have anything to say about the Indian government with regards to the LGBTQ community?
I am happy that the Indian government has given us permission to enjoy gay life outside the closed door. Society has a long way to go. But we should not be concerned much about society when it comes to living our life because society has a problem with almost everything.
Moreover, we should live life depending upon the surroundings we are living in. If openness is welcome then be open or else our community is large enough that feels like a world for us. And don’t forget to be financially independent for more freedom of choices in your life.
Q. Your thoughts on marriage?
It’s very important for us. We should have marriage and every right as straight couples do. Apart from committing to our relationships, we also have rights on the partner’s property. Property rights of your partner are important for financial support when you are old and your partner is not around. This right is given after marriage only.