'Just a wife tag': Doc's suicide over gay husband sparks debate

  • Abhishek Saha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2015 14:03 IST

Priya Vedi was 31 and a doctor at one of India's top hospitals. A promising career lay before her. She slashed her wrist in a Delhi hotel and killed herself on Sunday, alleging her husband was gay and was mentally torturing her.

"In these five years I was just a wife tag for him," wrote Vedi in a Facebook post before killing herself. Soon after the news broke, Vedi's Facebook post and suicide had become a debating point among social media users.

Vedi wrote that her husband, a doctor too, had not consummated their marriage in five years. She claimed after realising that her husband was gay, she tried her best to make the relationship work but he began torturing her instead.

"We don't have any physical relation till now… I found a fake gmail account in his laptop in which he was doing chatting with his gay friends and these messages were before of our marriage (sic)," her Facebook post said.

"In spite of knowing this I decided to help him to b as a wife with him. But he tortured me a lot mentally… And at last night he tortured me emotionally so I am unable to take breath with him… You are not a human being you are a devil, who take away my life from me (sic)," said Vedi, who worked with the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

The debate that ensued on social media had three points: a) what kind of society makes homosexuals shy away from accepting their sexuality b) should we put all the blame on Vedi's allegedly gay husband or actually look into the causes that made him step into a heterosexual relationship, and c) could Vedi have solved the problem of a non-functional marriage instead of killing herself.

"The problem I will still say is that gay people do not have acceptance, and hence most of them do not want to come out and tell that 'I want to live with a guy'. In order to keep their family name up, they marry girls for society and keep them as trophy wife. Yes, the man is at fault but the woman should have divorced him. Love doesn't mean to tolerate torture," wrote Divyaroop Ananda on Facebook.

"Today everyone will point it out to the guy telling him that it happened because he is gay. If she loved him the way she claims, she should have freed him from marriage," said Ananda.

"There, heterosexist-homophobic-patriarchy, you've claimed another life!" tweeted Arpita Phukan Biswas while while sharing Vedi's post.

Facebook user, Abhay Edwin Chacko, wrote "Samaj mein homophobia khatm hone zruri hai...taaki koi aese majboor na ho... #against_sec377. (We need to end homophobia in society, so that no one is compelled to take drastic steps such as this)."

Several people criticised gay men for getting into a heterosexual relationship and "torturing" their wives.

Girish Nikam wrote on Facebook: "Why do gay men marry a woman and torture themselves and her also? Tragic!"

Some on social media also argued that in Vedi's suicide case the gender equations became quite complicated - here, in a patriarchal society, a woman was struggling for healthy conjugal life against a gay husband.

A Facebook user, Moulee, commented in a satirical tone that the situation which Vedi faced and her ultimate suicide lay completely within the shackles of patriarchy.

"…it is easy for the women who are used to the patriarchal society to deal with it. Because as a woman she must not expect sexual pleasure from her husband. She should not raise her voice even if her husband hits her. She has to keep silent even if her husband brings his sexual partner home. Because that is how a woman has to be. How dare she take her husband's name before taking her life. She should have kept mum and killed herself to save her homosexual husband and his family's honour."

But even as this debate went on, Vedi's usage of the word 'abnormal sexuality' to refer to her husband's homosexuality seemed to miffed a few.

Twitter user Prabha (@drpro) wrote, "I understand Priya Vedi felt cheated but she was also a doctor and it surprises me she accuses him of "abnormal sexuality". #LGBT"

Users also commented that Vedi could have solved her problems easily.

Journalist and author Ammu Joseph wrote on Facebook, "I'd think a woman - especially a middle-class, professional woman living in a big city where divorce is not so uncommon or stigmatised any more - could opt out and make a life for herself. Of course she could have been depressed - but as a doctor she should have known that there are ways to tackle depression."

(The writer tweets at @saha_abhi1990)

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