Marriages are the ultimate signifier of love and commitment, but while most people get married to declare their love to the world, others get married for the benefits.
In India, the LGBT community has very little to no rights, until September 2018, homosexuality was a criminal offense. Not only is the law unruly, but the society at large have issues with the community.
When children come out to their parents they often hear a barrage of "that's not real", "it's just a phase" or "stop talking rubbish." And that just makes dating and relationships a difficult task for them.
And the parents of LGBT children often ridicule their sexuality or never learn of it, so when it comes down to relationships and marriage, these children are often married off traditionally.
But, strangely enough, the LGBT community has used this to their benefit. They give in to the norm of straight marriages but play their cards carefully.
What Are Marriages of Convenience?
The community has collectively realized that the mindset of society may never change, but their methods of adaption can.
Marriages of Convenience or MOC's are the marriages contracted for social, political, or economic advantage rather than for mutual affection. In the LGBT community, MOC's are very common.
To please their parents and for society to accept them, they usually get married to a man or woman against their will. But with MOC's, gay men and women get married to the opposite sex, to maintain the same effect, but the other person is also gay.
Lesbians usually look for gay men to get married to, and vice versa.
But this isn't just a secret they hold, there are apps and online websites that are specifically targeted towards MOC's.
Lavender marriage is one such website that allows the LGBT community to have fake straight marriages.
Though MOCs are more progressive than sham marriages, to straight, clueless partners, they are still not a step towards gay marriage in the country.
“Social change is never going to happen to make life better for sexual and gender minorities if queer South Asians are all in the closet,” said Alex Sangha, a South Asian LGBTQ activist.
And to this, Harish Iyer another LGBT activist from India, added: "Life cannot be one big theatre play."
Both these sentiments arise from the very real lives of LGBT people in India. Hiding their identities and living secret lives, is comfortable and beneficial to them, but if we want to see a change in the way LGBT people are treated, we have to fight the stigma.
Though marriages of convenience act as a great shelter from the hidden sexuality for parents, it seems a tad bit extremist and a little inappropriate.
Marriage isn't a business or contract to follow up with, so why make it that?