“I HAVE A STORY I want to share with you,” popped up a message on Grindr, a gay male dating app. I had recently put out a request soliciting interviews for my research work on HIV and “high fun,” a phenomenon involving sexualised drug use. The message was from a copywriter who works in an advertising agency. When I met him at a café in Mumbai, he spoke for two hours straight.
The copywriter met a man he described as “really handsome and super smart” at a party in 2018 and the two fell into a “fairy-tale romance.” Three months later, they flew to Amsterdam to get married. Back in India, the Supreme Court had just read down Section 377, a colonial-era law criminalising “carnal acts against the order of nature.”
“I always brought my partners home,” the copywriter said, adding that his mother even marched in Calcutta’s Pride Walk on his behalf. “But although my parents adored him, they couldn’t accept the fact I had married a Muslim.”
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