Bhopal: Valentine’s Day is a day filled with clichés but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate it. After all, if you’re just starting out in a relationship, it can be a fantastic way to express love to your partner.
When it comes to being in LGBT relationship, it’s equally important to show love to your significant other. But LGBT couples still feel the need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. An LGBT couple walking hand-in-hand along the street still invites abuses. Since there are no LGBT-friendly bars and nightclubs in Bhopal, most such couples celebrate the day at home. Free Press talked to few of them to know their reaction. Excerpts:
Tarun Chauhan, 21, student of textile design, NIFT
I celebrated the day with my boyfriend last year. We cooked food together and spent some time watching a movie and did all the cliché stuff. We celebrated Valentine week together; we went for dinner, musical nights. Now, that I am single and one of my female friends also happens to be single; we’ve planned to go to a bakery near Polytechnique Square. I feel blessed to have such amazing friends. In small city like Bhopal where scope of love and relationship is so less for LGBT community, it is this support and love that keeps me going. I still depend on my parents. I’m waiting to get financially stable so that they don’t have to worry about my future.
I have complaint about other people’s behaviour towards us. Laws are against us; we can’t marry. And even if we want to live together, family won’t let us do it. When couples celebrate their love in public on Valentine’s Day, we have to sit in our rooms. I mean we can’t even hold hands in public. Don’t we have the right to express our love to our loved ones the same way others do?
Aman Soni, 24, NGO worker
We want to enjoy the day like normal people do, because we too have heart. We should also get the right and freedom to celebrate the day publicly. Lekin jab normal logon ko hi aazadi nahi hai ise manane ki, to hamari to door ki baat hai… (When normal people don’t have freedom to celebrate the day freely, then we are far away). Bajrang Dal creates a ruckus. So, we celebrate the day in a room only with our partners. I used to celebrate the day in male wear but I have planned to wear female dress this year. My partner is elder to me and is in business. My family supports us but his family doesn’t. They dislike and scold when they see him with me, even they beat him. I feel very bad. My father is goldsmith and I work for an NGO, which raises awareness among people about HIV-AIDS.
Sanjana Singh, secretary of Mitra Shringar Samiti
We celebrate the day with our partners over dinner or lunch in a restaurant or hotels. We (Sanjana is transgender) have been in relationship for 13 years. In 2013, we married. Earlier, we used to celebrate the day outside the city like Ajmer, Shirdi and other places but now we enjoy the day in the city because we don’t get time. My hubby Shadab Hussain is a supervisor in a transport company. He is very caring and supportive. We both belong to different religions but we respect all religions. We have planned to celebrate the day with orphan children this year in the morning. We will go for dinner in the evening. We celebrate every festival with old people or orphan children. We also give surprise gifts to each other. Every day is Valentine’s Day for us. But on this especial day we get a chance to share our feelings with each other. The mindset of people towards the LGBT couples has not yet changed.