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Home > Lifestyle News > Culture News > Article > The representation of queer couples is a possibility of a future

"The representation of queer couples is a possibility of a future"

Updated on: 18 April,2023 12:05 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Maitrai Agarwal |

Representation of happy queer couples has often escaped the mainstream narrative. Ankur and Deepak, cis-gay men who have been together for 12 years, help us understand the nuances of queer love and partnership

Ankur and Deepak are pet parents to two dogs, and have rescued over 200 dogs. Photo courtesy: Ankur

Relationships are complex, queer relationships even more so. While there are many similarities between cis-het (cis-gender heterosexual) and queer couples in terms of the hopes and dreams they nurture, there are glaring differences as well. In a cis-het normative society, the dearth of representation is a roadblock in self-identification, and the stressors stemming from a queer identity add to the burden of a relationship. In a country like India where LGBTQIA+ individuals grow up without examples of queer couples around them or in media, stories of happy queer couples in long-term relationships allow them to be hopeful of a future where they can too be happy.

“There are very few examples of successful queer relationships. The representation of happy couples is a possibility of a future wherein gay men may not need to marry women to have some semblance of a family, and may offer parents an alternative window which allows them to become optimistic about their queer child’s future,” says Ankur who identifies as a cis-gay man, and lives with his partner of 12 years, Deepak.

After meeting through a dating website in 2010, they now live together in Bengaluru with their dogs, and work as 3D animators. However, the road to domesticity was not a smooth ride, and they had to strive hard to persevere.

Ankur and Deepak have been together for twelve years, and plan to get married soon. Photo courtesy: Ankur

Hailing from Haryana, Ankur had a complicated relationship with masculinity growing up. Even after meeting Deepak, ‘gay’ seemed to be a hateful term for him. “I had trouble accepting my identity—which is often misrepresented as a sexual disorder, or mocked on television and films. I was scared of being abandoned by my family or ridiculed by society,” said Ankur.

Mental health issues stemming from cis-heteronormativity are a huge stressor when it comes to queer couples. “Mental health is always a challenge. Right from childhood till accepting themselves, a queer individual goes through lots of turmoil. My friends often remark, I don’t seem gay based on what they see in movies. Even holding hands in public with your same-sex partner can be subject to judgement, and the endless misconceptions such as gay men being overtly sexual harms us. Familial acceptance, financial stability and job security are all tricky paths for us,” explains Ankur.

His family coerced him into getting married to a girl, even after he had told them about Deepak. “I thought I’ll marry the girl, and keep Deepak on the side. Eventually, I realised I had not done right by the girl, felt very guilty, and decided to rectify my mistake.” Once Ankur proposed divorce, his family and in-laws started threatening Deepak which resulted in him relocating to Mumbai. The divorce proceedings lasted 1.5 years, during which both Ankur and Deepak felt depressed, and lonely. 

Even after the divorce was finalised in 2016, Ankur’s mother told him to not stay with Deepak—who she saw as the villain in this story. “I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders when the divorce was finalised. I didn’t worry about family support,” shares Ankur. They were reunited in Bengaluru in 2018—the same year article 377 was struck down, and started living as spouses.

What is interesting in a queer relationship is the absence of fixed gender roles, which allows a fluid power balance. Ankur and Deepak are both employed full-time, and take care of chores around the house, as neither of them is expected to solely take on the emotional or financial burden as well. “Traditionally, many things are pre-defined for straight couples, but every queer couple has its own dynamic. Unlike most cis-het marriages where the woman takes care of the house, and does the emotional labour, we take turns supporting each other,” observes Ankur.

Acceptance followed when Ankur’s father—who he hadn’t come out to yet—flew down to visit them in 2019. To the couple’s shock and delight, he asked whether they would be together for the rest of their lives, and apologised for their long-drawn suffering. “He said I accept you both, and I want to plan a function with all my relatives, you should also call your friends and family,” recalls Deepak.


Ankur and Deepak with their mothers through the years. Photo courtesy: Ankur

This was a watershed moment for the couple who had finally gotten the acceptance they had always desired, and fought hard for. Within the next 30 minutes, Deepak also came out to his elder sister over a phone call. He said, “I think you already know, but I want to confirm that Ankur and I have been together for the past 10 years.” His sister said that she was glad Ankur was his partner. Today, Ankur’s father wants them to get married, and Deepak’s mother speaks freely about her son being gay, and educates others about the LGBTQIA+ community.

The tumultuous decade of their love could break the strongest of bonds, but their trust in each other kept their partnership afloat. “I believe good relationships aren’t found, they are built. Trust is the most important factor in making a relationship last. Additionally, to make a queer relationship work, you need to invest time and offer constant support to each other; because love in a relationship is a process not an event, it takes its own sweet time to develop,” shares Deepak.

Their lives now are dedicated towards living their truest, most authentic lives, and giving back to society. They believe it is important for society to see members of the LGBTQIA+ community as change makers. “People have a perception that LGBTQIA+ individuals only party, because they don’t have any family dependent on them. We need to normalise the notion that queers aren’t alien, they are ordinary people with similar thought processes.  We want to support the society at large beyond the LGBTQIA+ community. Since 2019, I have helped rescue 200 dogs, and gotten over a 100 of them adopted. During the pandemic, we cooked meals and delivered free home food to 80 Covid-19 patients everyday—which was far greater than the original plan of helping out 10 to 12 people.”

When asked about their hopes and dreams for the future, Ankur shares, “We are planning to get married. We know it might be difficult, but we wish we could get hitched in a Hindu temple in India with all rituals. We would also like to adopt a HIV positive or a kinnar child. We have already spoken to transgender centres and spread the word within the community.”

Also Read: The macro impact of microaggressions experienced by LGBTQIA+ individuals

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