I remember when I started the process of accepting that I was “different” than others in my educational career. I was treated differently, taunted, bullied, excluded, picked on. I was never physically hurt. My sisters & cousins were my fierce protectors as they are to this day. I came out to the first person in high school in 1999. I came out to my sisters in Oct. 2010, my best friend a month later, my parents the fall of 2013 & on social media in 2018.
My husband & I came out to the world through a wedding announcement (with the help of one of my best friends) in the New York Times. Before I invited a local news station to cover our wedding, I knew it would pick up traction locally, nationally and internationally. It was important to Sharath and I to celebrate our marriage by having a traditional Sikh ceremony and Coorg ceremony. We knew there would be dissenters. But, we’ve both been treated differently, taunted, bullied, excluded and picked on our whole lives. We’ve literally been fighting for acceptance since the day we were born, fighting to survive and be treated the same as our peers.
Inviting the media to cover our wedding ceremonies was to raise awareness to Indian members in the global LGBTQI+ community still struggling to break out of the closet that it does get better. As a child, my family went to the Gurdwara regularly (that my parents established). Sharath was born & raised in Southern India & also for a time in the Middle East by his grandparents & parents with a mix of Coorg customs, traditions & going to temples. We always dreamed of having wedding ceremonies that we attended our whole lives. We made those dreams a reality. That reality was showcased & went viral. The floodgates have burst open of both positive comments & negative dissenters.
We welcome the dialogue. Change is inevitable. Mindsets will evolve. There are two sides that every person on this planet chooses to be on with regard to every single thing: the right side of history or the wrong side of history. Sharath & I are living our truths & came out to the world by going viral. The choice is yours to make if you’re on the right side of history or the wrong side of history.