On Sunday, Priya Vedi, a young anaesthetist at AIIMS, put an end to her life claiming that she could not bear the torture inflicted by her gay husband.
The 31-year-old alleged in her suicide note that her husband Kamal Vedi, 34, also a doctor at AIIMS, was using a fake email account to chat with his gay friends.
Even after discovering that her husband was gay, Priya continued staying with him, though their marriage was never consummated. The fact that Vedi did not reciprocate her love reportedly forced Priya to claim her own life.
LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights activists say that the incident should serve as a lesson for ill-educated parents who force their gay sons into marriage, and end up ruining not one but two lives.
“Even educated parents believe that being gay is a mental illness. They think marriage is a cure for it. They fail to understand that homosexuality is an inborn tendency and a person has no control over it. In their desperation, they drag their children to psychiatrists, hoping that their sexual orientation can be changed, and they can have a relationship with their wives,” says psychologist Pulkit Sharma.
He says that such marriages are doomed, as a gay man can’t do justice to his marriage.
LGBT rights activist Shashi Bhushan seconds him. “When gay men have sex with their wives, it’s a forced, unnatural act. Women can see through the facade. It’s torturous for them to be trapped in such a marriage,” says Bhushan. And, it’s not easy for the man to live a dual life. “Frustration and anger are the natural outcomes of such alliances,” he adds.
Bhushan also stresses that it’s impossible to counsel parents to change their primitive view of homosexuality unless it’s decriminalised. “We are back to the Stone Age. All that we had achieved was wiped out when the Supreme Court upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,” he says. Gay rights activist Anjan Joshi agrees.
“A large percentage of gay men in India are married because they could not come out of the closet out of the fear of being targeted. Their wives suffer in the worst ways. They are forever looking for love that just can’t be,” he says. “When the law is not on your side, it’s not easy to save the world. What needs to be criminalised is homophobia and not homosexuality. I fear many more innocent lives being claimed by homophobia,” he adds.