'Till death do us part...'

STANDING OUT

COMFORTABLE  Simon and  Rein.

Married for seven years now and on a 12 month sabbatical in India, they spoke to Metrolife about the perils they faced and how in spite of everything, they managed to stay together.

“We met in Australia on an empty terrace. I was having lunch with a female friend and Simon was with a friend too. It started raining and we were standing for cover when I mustered up the courage to ask him for his phone number. We met two times again after that and have been together ever since then,” said Rein describing how the journey began in the first place.

About how they dealt with homosexuality while growing up, they both seemed to have had different experiences. Simon came out of the closet earlier and was even bullied at school. “It was my mother who noticed the difference in me and asked me first. I admitted to it when I was 19,” Simon added. 

Rein, who is older than Simon says, “I was in constant denial for the longest time. I didn’t know any gay people and thought it would go away after a certain age. It was only in New York, when I was 24-year-old and met a Dutch girl there, who fell in love with me that I finally came out. However, since then, I have got immense support from family and friends and have never experienced homophobia in my life,” he added.

When asked if the path to marriage is an easy one, Simon says, “We got really lucky, because at the time we decided to move to Belgium and get married. Belgium started allowing same sex marriages, provided one of the partners was European. Rein is a European and hence, it became really easy for us to get married.”

 When asked if the society played an important role in sustaining a relationship, Rein said, “The society does a play a very important role. Expression of love towards your partner also comes from interaction with other people. If you can’t introduce your partner to the world, it definitely does take a toll on the relationship.”

Their story can be described as a small victory in a world which is still coming to terms with homosexuality. India too is still trying hard to grasp the concept.  For Indian gay men, pressures at home often force them to make the biggest compromise — heterosexual marriage. However there is hope, says Rein.

“Just like the revolution in Middle East, there will be a revolution when it comes to gay and lesbian rights here in India. The young will make way for a change.”

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