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  • Writer's pictureAruna

Let's Talk About Love

Today, like everyone trapped by flashing red hearts that jump out at you from every corner of the media, I’m thinking about love. Over the weekend, I met several couples for the first time and each of them exemplified what love is.

One couple had recently got married in a civil ceremony, with a small group of friends cheering them on. The joy on the faces in the photos they showed me on their phones was incandescent. They were queer Indian American women, and they told me their families hadn’t warmed to the idea at the time, but now, they were treated like any other married couple when they visited.

Another couple invited me for breakfast, and over a meal of tacos and chai, talked about how they had met through work. One partner was transgender and white, and the other cisgender and Indian. One was very tall, and one very short, and they smiled at each other as I told them what a lovely couple they make, and my heart melted. They shared their own story - one of their families having initial worries about the relationship, but eventually fully supportive, and the other facing complete rejection from their family.

What I’ve observed in my journey as an ally is that LGBTQ+ folks take love seriously. They have had to. They have had to battle families and communities that make them feel their same-sex attraction and gender identity is shameful as they are growing up. Many have faced emotional and physical violence as children and learned to protect themselves the hard way. As adults, they have faced a world where their love is considered illegal, wrong and disgusting. So when they find love, they claim it fully, wholeheartedly, and it is a beautiful thing to see.

In the USA, the law of the land has finally affirmed the right of LGBTQ+ people to marry and claim the right that all cisgender, straight people take for granted. In other parts of the world, including South Asia, this right is far from guaranteed. In Sri Lanka, the government just announced that it plans to decriminalize same-sex relationships. In India, while same-sex relationships were decriminalized in 2018, the Supreme Court will hear the petitions of gay couples demanding legalization of same-sex marriage in March. Winning these legal battles will make a huge difference to the fear and violence that LGBTQ+ people face, but the battle to change the attitudes, hearts and minds of all of society remains a much larger one.

This Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating LGBTQ+ love in all its infinite beauty. Those flashing hearts should reflect all colors of the rainbow.

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