Finding love in modern times is hard enough, but as humans have evolved, so have social constructs of romance and relationships. Thanks to this, LGBT relationships, what’s known as “alternate” sexualities have become more acceptable in mainstream societies.
Immersing itself into the mix is the concept of gender fluid relationships, in which a person — while not aligning himself or herself with a particular type of sexuality — explores relationships with people across genders, and can change with time.
International celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart and Miley Cyrus have — in the past and at present — found love with people of the same sex. And while it’s hard to find such relationships in public in the Indian context, the concept is on the rise here.
It’s all about exploration, says Jayati Sharma, co-founder of LGBT group Wajood Society and a real estate consultant. “Initially it was only male-female relationships, but now you see so many people in relationships with people of the same gender.
The comfort of being with the same gender — it’s more about chemistry. When we were growing up, there was never really the concept of dating as such. But now there are people who are not marrying for a long time, and some even don’t want to be in relationships — asexual,” Jayati says.
Globalisation and increasing access to the world around us is the reason for this, she explains. “People are more open to the idea of keeping it fluid. They’re defining relationships in terms of people, not in terms of their gender. People are now travelling and are going to places and seeing such relationships everywhere, so that’s one reason why they aren’t constraining themselves into looking for partners just by their gender.”
Sneha Rao* a 26-year-old Hyderabadi has been in relationships with men and women. She says, “I don’t think they are mainstream, yet, but I do think more people are comfortable with the idea that friendships and relationships are fluid and not dependent on gender. I find that love and intimacy comes in all shapes — it does not have to be only romantic.”
Celebs need to talk about it
With all the talk about celebrities, Jayati believes that relationships like these can become mainstream even in the local context. “It does affect a lot of people, because you have an idol. You understand that’s how you’re born. If celebrities don’t do it, then who will? They can take such decisions and take the cause further,” she says.
Sadhak Navdeep, an LGBT rights activist, has a slightly cynical point of view, saying that Indian celebrities rarely speak about such issues, and says finding people who accept that they’re in a non-heterosexual relationship is “very hard”.
“Celebrities talking about it would help,” Navdeep says, adding that mainstream media needs to stop “making a mockery” of same sex relationships: “Especially in the Telugu film industry. If you’re not supporting it, it’s fine... but don’t do any damage. The so-called jokes they make in the films are extremely harmful.”
Sneha’s take is slightly more personal. “I am not sure. I do think them being open allows for more people to be freer in their relationships. For me, it just happened. But many in gender-fluid relationships find it hard cause most people assume that we can only be intimately related.”