If people can get married to a tree, why can’t I marry myself, asks Vadodara 24-year-old

The month of June is celebrated as International Pride Month, with various events being organised to raise awareness about the LGBTQAI community. Theres media coverage and interviews are also conducted. A 24-year-old from Vadodara talked about marrying herself in an interview during Pride Month and it has gone viral. The young woman spoke to IANS about the ups and downs of life in an interview.

“I am a bisexual, I have had both male and female partners,” says Shama Bindu of Vadodara, “Even today I am in contact with them, but nothing happened. I have been single for many years. I fell in love with my solitude, I have never had such an experience with anyone before. I have loved being a bride since I was little, but I gradually realized that I would never be a wife. After thinking for three or four months, I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right. It is also a way to love yourself. So I thought only the people of Vadodara should know about this so I gave an interview to two local newspapers and channels. I didn’t know it and I didn’t expect it to go so viral. I am a firm believer in Hinduism and culture, so I had to get married in a temple in the presence of my friends and family.

Former Deputy Mayor of Vadodara, Sunita Shukla also spoke to the temple trustee and asked him to stop the marriage. She warned that if the marriage takes place, there will be protests. According to Hindu scriptures and Vedic scriptures, marriages take place only within the social system. Shukla has termed Shama’s decision as a mental disorder and said that the decision has been taken to hurt the temple and Hindu faith. Shama Bindu has a distorted mentality which spreads distortion in the society. If she marries in any temple she will be strongly opposed, Shukla added.

In response to the allegation, Shama told IANS that her motive was marriage, not to hurt anyone’s feelings. “I am not trying to distort Hindu civilization. I believe there is nothing wrong with loving yourself. I am just 24 years old and the issue is being politicized, so I am a bit afraid as well. After my interview went viral, suddenly a dozen reporters started coming to my house every day with cameras. Today society has ostracised me. After becoming famous, people have trolled me on social media, written obscene comments and messages, I have received threats as well, so why would I do such stuff to become famous?”

Shama posed a question for all, “If a person makes a different decision according to their own will, will all the people of the world follow him and make a decision? This is not possible. Hence there is nothing wrong with my decision. I have apologized if it hurt the feelings of the people and I will not get married in the temple now, now maybe the guests will also drop. But I am planning to go ahead with the wedding on 11th June.”

Shama said she loved the Canadian webseries ‘Anne with an E’, as well as the Bollywood movie ‘Roohi’, where actress Jahnvi Kapoor’s character marries her soul. The people in this country are l accept marriage with a tree, a dog, or even with ghosts or spirits but they have difficulty in accepting marriage with self.

On being asked if she would consider marrying someone else in future, Shama said that there is no guarantee in marriage when any heterosexual or gay or lesbian couple gets married. Right now, I think this decision is right, if I feel anything about someone in the future, I may consider marrying them.

Regarding the response she is getting on social media, Shama said that people have raised questions about my sexuality and how I can satisfy myself. I consider it the hypocrisy of the people. There are a lot of people who have heard about me and started reading about Sologamy. I have also received responses from many women that their divorce case is going on and if they had known about such marriages earlier this situation would not have come up today. So it’s nice to have people talk about this and to know about it. I am just a girl who dared to try.

Rahul Upadhyay from Gandhinagar, who has been working on LGBTQ awareness for the last seven years and has been running the Gandhinagar Queer Foundation for the last five years, said it is out of sync for people to accept such marriages. In our society, even today, people cannot accept inter-caste or love marriages. Even after the removal of Article 377 in 2009, it was challenged in the Supreme Court that the law is against Hindu culture. Those who say this have not read Hindu Vedas or Puranas. Many such characters and relationships were mentioned in our Puranas. If people think logically, they will get all the answers. Many people oppose this just for the sake of publicity.

Rahul added that sometimes jealousy is also responsible for such protests, that if I could not do as I wished openly then you cannot do it as well.

While talking about the changes taking place in the society and LGBTQ’s representation in films, Rahul said that teenagers are now openly recognizing and talking about themselves. We organize a private meet every month that includes people over 50 and parents have also joined in recent meetings.

Many films and series still see LGBTQ as just a trending topic. The film has a typical character and theme even today. Filmmakers need to do a little research as a gay boy does not flirt with all the boys. OTT is also getting films on a few good topics now. Involvement is also required if a gay character is to be taken for a gay actor or a trans actor for a trans person. There is nothing wrong with that, but now there is a need to normalize the issue a bit, he said.

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