PUNE: After meeting through an LGBT dating site, falling in love and marrying in the United States (US), Sameer Samudrai and Amit Gokhale, who are presently living in Pune, have completed 15 years of marriage. Both were rejoiced on the news of the Supreme Court judgement and expressed that though same-sex marriage is still illegal, they can come out openly about their sexuality and relationship in the society. They share their journey from the US to Pune with Sakal Times.
Thursday was a busy day for both Samudrai and Gokhale, as different electronic and print media approached them for interviews. Without any sign of tiredness, they happily narrated their story to all. Even the society members congratulated and greeted them on their messenger groups when they learned about why media houses were visiting their society.
Gokhale, delighted on receiving greetings from society members, said it was very nice to see that many society members felt comfortable about our relationship and congratulated us.
Narrating about the beginning of love and friendship, Samudrai said, “We both had been to the US for higher studies and lived four hours away from each other. We met on a gay dating site and eventually developed feelings for each other. It has been 15 years of togetherness, out of which we are married for eight years.”
Samudrai and Gokhale came out about their relationship to their parents in 2005 (to Samdurai’s family) and 2006 (to Gokhale’s family). “We knew they will take time to understand our relationship, hence we were prepared for it,” said Gokhale, who is Director of Logistics at Cummins, India.
“It took almost four to five years for them to adjust and adapt the fact that we were a gay couple. Our parents would visit us for five to six months in the US, during which we both got time to spend with each other’s family. We didn’t speak to them as each other’s partner but as individuals. We exchanged lengthy conversations and answered every query of theirs. Eventually, respective parents started treating one another as their second son,” said Gokhale.
Both of them decided to get married in the US, as they resided over there for 10 years and had family friends. “Besides, gay marriages were legal in the US, therefore it was easy and convenient,” said Samudrai.
“Also, our parents worried about what relatives and other family friends in India would think about our relationship and whether will it be acceptable to all. Because of which they were not comfortable so we did not share any marriage pictures on social media nor had a big ceremony. Later, we came out to many of our relatives here and were open to individual perception. We never forced conversation with anyone and respected the comfort zone of each member,” said Gokhale.
When Samudrai and Gokhale came to Pune one year ago, it took at least seven months for them to find accommodation.
“We didn’t get entry in discotheques and dinners at five-star were restricted to us on Valentine’s Day. Even the family gym didn’t allow membership to us. Of course, there has been discrimination but we didn’t care about it,” said Samudrai.
When asked about adoption, Samudrai laughed and said, “We have nieces and nephews whom we wish to share our love and affection. We don’t want to adopt any children.”