Personal Stories

Marriage Equality: What Has Been A Distant Dream, For It To Feel So In-Reach Is Excruciating!

The life we’ve built and this love is still ours. A ring or no ring, having the choice to marry one another is a basic human right and I don’t understand why anybody needs to contest it.

I remember the days leading up to the 377 verdict – anxiety peaking, clammy palms, involuntary tears, loss of sleep, constant fear-mongering, trying to stay hopeful and up-to-date with any news in relation to it. Followed by the day that it was to be announced – the eerie silence of not being able to see what was going on at the courts – twitter feeds blowing up with updates, instagram DMs with people who were helping petitioners; knowing I was a mere 23.7kms away from the court where the verdict would be given; the gripping fear of ‘what if we don’t get decriminalized’ and in response to that being literally frozen under my best friend’s quilt as she went on about her regular Thursday.

This lead-up to 377 being struck down is how I’ve spent my days ever since the hearings on marriage equality have started. Hopeful, yet ridden with anxiety. I am glad we get to listen-in on the court proceedings but I didn’t account for the lack of motivation to do anything but process all that was being said and how it would grip me and take me out of my everyday life!

On Tuesday, I was pretty much functioning on auto-pilot, getting to the office and sitting at my desk. I don’t have any memory of how I got there because I was so invested in all that was being said, I only remember that I cried on my way there.

Luckily my employer understood and didn’t ask me to shut it down.

It was overwhelming trying to listen to the biases that highly-regarded, articulate individuals hold, who were supposed to be representatives of the state.

Somehow, between work – I listened in and it still took me until 7pm to finish hearing it all. That was only Day 1, my brain was fuzzy.

My partner and I were on edge all throughout the three days and my moods were all over the place. I was snappier than usual – experienced higher disassociation levels; all the while trying to be present for fellow queerios as much as possible.

On Wednesday I felt a brain shutdown coming on. I started to scribble words and sentences being spoken during the hearing on several sticky-notes, words that felt insensitive and words that felt empowering. That entire day went by just listening in.

By Day 3, I tried my best to stay as hopeful as ever, but when they announced that the hearings may go on longer – I worried what would happen before hearings could resume – would there be rioting, would certain religious organizations take to the streets, would the BCI make a fuss? How was I to keep the hope alive like I’d promised?

All this discourse when I’d been holding onto a ring for almost 10 days, the one that I wanted to give to my partner as a grounding moment for us – not as an engagement ring but to say I am here, I am staying, I love you for a long long time and we may not have it figured out but I want us to figure them all out together.

On Thursday, I decided I would no longer wait for the hearings to commence, finish, or the law to decide whether we receive the rights that are literally ours, to be ruled in favor of us or not. Instead, I dedicated my time to cleaning up our home – the one my partner and I share.

I wished to do this at home – a place we’ve built together, where we live out our days, our domestic life, in the middle of our usually busy mornings, the ones we cherish the most – that’s when I gave her the ring: on Friday morning.

This was our silver lining, our rainbow glory. Almost immediately after – the sense of calm that washed over the both of us was soulful.

The life we’ve built and this love is still ours. A ring or no ring, having the choice to marry one another is a basic human right and I don’t understand why anybody needs to contest it.

My partner and I envision our lives together, we someday wish to adopt older kids that almost never find families that are willing to take them on. We want to be able to build a community space for fellow queerios to rest their heads and experience love, friendship and family.

I lost my father nearly two years ago now; the fact that it was a hassle-free handover when it came to releasing his deceased body to my mother haunted my mind. Because what happens when we find ourselves in that situation and either one of our families refuses to “allow us” or “grant” access to us to be able to do the same?

What happens if we want joint bank accounts or put money down for a home loan together?

Where is our access to having hopes or dreams of a life together in society when we aren’t even considered anything but a mere “other”?

None of this will be possible until we keep working towards all the rights that ought to be a default setting instead of a fight for and by the community.

Reading down Section 377 was just a foot in the door and countless people are trying exceedingly hard to ensure that the door keeps opening wider for us. We will fight until we are accepted and seen as people who deserve to live as respected members of society, whether married or unmarried!

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Shreya Shetty is a Bombay based Photographer, Educator & Dreamer.
Shreya Shetty

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