I Was Forced To Marry A Woman Because My Family Didn't Allow Me To Come Out Of The Closet

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 25 May, 2017

I am writing this piece to be honest to myself. My life is similar to the lives of many queer people, but not everyone dares to speak out loud.

I was born in a strict small town to a Haryanvi family. Being brought up in a patriarchal culture, everyone lived a life centered around marriage and producing kids. I was always a very inquisitive child. It was natural for me to question my own existence. I knew from a very young age that I was different from others, and didn’t quite fit in. 

My childhood was filled with mockery, humiliation, loneliness and depression. No one around me, including my own parents, could understand what I was going through. I was often ridiculed for being ‘abnormal’. I used to be among the top ten students in class but life got complicated as I was growing up, and this affected my studies. 
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I got admission in one of the most prestigious colleges of my state and somehow I managed to graduate with a first class degree. However, it was one of the toughest phases of my life.

During my college days I had started realizing who I was. I decided to do something productive in life. I tried to rise above the depression, insecurity, disdain and discrimination. Life is easier for queer people in metro cities as compared to those living in villages and small towns.

In small regions like Haryana, there is no awareness about sexuality and gender neutrality. As a result many children like myself, end up living a life in despair.

I never dared to come out to anybody as I was scared for my life. But I was also not the kinds who can suppress their identity for life. 
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I joined an NGO and started fighting for LGBT rights. I was good at debates, and I used these skills to raise issues of the LGBT communities. I was assaulted by some of the students of my university. Soon my family came to know about the kind of activities I was involved in. My family imposed several restrictions on me, and I was forced to move out of the hostel. The joy that I got from working with the NGO with like minded people had to be left behind.

I visited many spiritual organizations and ended up becoming a disciple of a spiritual personality from ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). He was my counselor and spiritual guide. I regularly attended evening Bhagwad Geeta Classes. This helped me feel better, but I knew that I had taken up spirituality out of cowardice, to escape my problems. 

I ignored such thoughts and continued with my spiritual practices. In my Bhagwad Geeta class, I met a simple and traditional girl called Pooja. She covered her body from head to toe, and wore a big tilak on her forehead. 

I knew she used to notice me, and liked me. We began talking to each other and became good friends. I formed an emotional bond with her but there was no sexual attraction. As it turned out, she was forced to live like this by her family. Her sister had vowed to a life of celibacy and wanted her to do the same. She was also being pressurized by her father to get married.

She expressed the desire to marry a spiritually inclined boy so that everyone in her family would be happy. I knew she was pointing towards me. I didn’t want to act in haste as my career wasn’t secure yet. 
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Once, when I was involved in a heated argument with my family and was being abused with terms like ‘gay’ and ‘hijda’, I yelled back for the first time “Yes I am gay!” My father turned more violent, as if he was waiting to hear this from me. My brother and sister also attacked me. My mother was assaulted by my father since he blamed her for spoiling me. My mother threatened me with suicide. My father said only one of us would remain alive: him or me.

Out of fear, I decided to calm my father down by saying that I was not gay, just different from others. 

This led to my family pressurizing me even more about the marriage. I agreed to marry, but only with the girl of my choice. I had no other option than Pooja. She liked me and wasn’t like other girls. She was super spiritual. I knew she would never expect much sexual and emotional support from me. We were even good friends now. I also knew Pooja was attracted towards me.

Once Pooja expressed her desires, I don't know why but I couldn't say "NO" and ended up accepting her proposal. She was overwhelmed with joy. I spent that whole night crying in bed. It dawned upon me that I was born only for my family. I no longer had any dreams, ambitions and life. I went into the darkness of sadness. 

Even though my career wasn’t settled, we had to speak to our families since Pooja was being forced into marriage by her father. My family happily accepted our relationship. For the first time, I was given love and respect by my family members. I was surprised to see the way I was being treated now.

I began spending more time with Pooja. I cared for her, but there wasn’t any physical urge. We were in a relationship but I never felt the way a boyfriend feels. I tried touching her and kissing her, but she never responded. She always claimed to be free from sexual desires. I thought that's perfect but deep down I knew she was lying. I was also spiritual, I also read Bhagwad Geeta and practiced all principles but couldn’t overcome my bodily demands.

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I knew she had those desires too. With time, I realized she had suppressed all her desires, and was actually very frustrated and short-tempered because of her family's atmosphere. I felt that she wanted to marry me just to get her family off her back. She prohibited me from talking to other girls. I slowly figured out that we weren’t compatible with each other. I came to know that I could never fake and fulfill her expectations as a normal boy. 

I spoke with my father and begged to cancel the wedding, but the date had already been fixed. Every relative knew about it and it would be a big insult for our families to suddenly cancel the marriage. My father knew that I would never marry any girl if this marriage was broken. I pleaded everyone but no one cared. I tried killing myself, but in vain.

I requested Pooja to mutually break the engagement but she refused. She emotionally blackmailed me. 

Eventually, I went to my spiritual guide for help. He advised me to get married because that’s what he thought God wanted. He told me that this is the way I could turn straight and overcome my homosexuality.

I was frightened with the concept of marriage. I was very attached to my mother, and she was the only reason I was still living at home. I was sure she would die if I did anything against her wishes. She never accepted me the way I was but she was the only one who had always stood by my side. 

I used to tremble whenever I recalled the day when I came out to my family. I didn’t want to create that situation again. I couldn’t run away from home because I was sure my mother can’t live without me. I couldn’t go along with suicide. So I decided to get married, thinking marriage was as good as dying for me.
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It has been one and a half years since my wedding, and I have been dying every day ever since. I saved my family’s prestige but couldn’t save my own happiness. I don’t remember the last time I slept peacefully. 

My father met with a fatal accident a few months ago. I couldn’t even think of divorce when he was alive. I had spoken with him about the problems in my married life but he never paid much attention. I tried to become a good friend to my wife but she was never supportive.

Now my father is no more, and my wife wants me to leave my family and settle somewhere else separately. She doesn’t have a good equation with my family. I spoke with her about divorce but she threatens me of framing my family and me in false cases of dowry, domestic violence etc.

I beg her literally everyday for divorce. She doesn’t want it. She wants no scars on her reputation. She doesn't want to be labeled as " A divorced girl". She feels divorce is a big taboo in our society. She doesn't like her strict fanatic father and family. She doesn't want to go back to her house.

I am ready to bear all her responsibilities and stay with her forever but only as a very good friend and support. I can't act like a typical husband. I can't give her emotional support. She doesn't understand this. I often tell her that divorce will ultimately free both of us and we can still be in touch but she is not ready at all. I don’t know how long I will be able to live my life like this.

I don’t know how long I would be able to stretch this rubber band because some day it has to break. This marriage has no future at all. I attend some LGBT events. I feel relaxed from my suffocated life but the feeling doesn’t last long as I am again forced to live the same fake life. It’s high time I took a firm stand for myself. But I don’t know what the next step will be. 

Sometimes I feel like coming out loud. I don’t want others to go through this. I want to speak about it loudly but I have been completely trapped in this marriage. I wouldn't wish this for any of my LGBT brothers and sisters.  
Author's Note:

I feel suffocated in the closet. I don't want anything. I am not too ambitious. I just want some peace and happiness. I don’t want any partner. I don't want any sexual or emotional pleasure. I don’t want money. Neither do I want name or fame. I just want to live the rest of my life in all honesty. I want peace. I want to die peacefully at the end of my life. I just want to be a part of this fight against discrimination, prejudice and injustice. If my voice remains shut today, then many other voices like me will never be heard.

Editor's Note:

Share this story because this crucial decision ruins many lives, not just one.