A week after they got married last year, Nimmy found texts on her husband’s mobile phone describing a sexual encounter with a man. She initially forced herself to believe her husband’s explanation that the phone messages were harmless fun – but in February, she saw emails with naked photos of her husband sent to his male best friend, who is also married.
“I was in denial, as he still is,” Nimmy said. “Finally, I snapped out of it and accepted the fact that I married a gay man and my marriage is over.”
The 30-year-old software programmer from the southern state of Kerala, who spoke to Al Jazeera under a pseudonym, said she had never suspected her partner was gay during several months of courting. It was an arranged marriage but she had happily approved the match.
Rashmi, a social worker from the western state of Maharashtra who requested her last name not appear, was also content with her parents’ choice after spending time with her future husband. But on their honeymoon last November, she said he avoided physical contact with her, and she refused his demands for anal sex during the few months that they lived together.
Family pressures and financial dependency are among the most frequently cited reasons for Indian women staying married to gay men, experts say, in a country where gay sex is not only stigmatised but outright illegal. In 2012, the Indian government estimated that 2.5 million gay men live in the country, which has a population of more than 1.2 billion…read it at Al Jazeera.