One may ask, what is marriage of convenience? It is a concept of marriage where two people pretend to be married while having no marital relationship in reality. The concept is old and many reasons were behind those who opt for it. In India, the most common reason behind marriage of convenience is the pressure to get married.
Many queer individuals opt for marriage of convenience in India. These are the individuals who stay closeted or are under tremendous family pressure to stay closeted and show themselves as heterosexual in the social setting.
It is a very common phenomena. Many members of LGBTQIA+ Community try to find partners from the community to avoid ruining lives of heterosexuals who might be married off to them by their families. One can find posts on social media queer groups asking for marriage of convenience. Major reasons for opting for this type of marriage instead of coming out are –
- Lack of Acceptance- Even after section 377 judgement, lack of acceptance prevails in the Indian Society. Many individuals crave acceptance to survive even now and the existing stigma against LGBTQIA+ individuals doesn’t let it happen.
- Fear of abandonment- In some cases, community members are abandoned by the family, clan, village,etc. This fear of abandonment is one of the reasons for hiding by having a heterosexual marriage.
- Fear of abuse by family- Many families abuse their children if they come out as queer. From beatings to corrective rapes, many families still continue to harass their children over their orientation
- Honor Killings- Honor Killings are an alarming issue in India. People get murdered for marrying outside their castes, similarly many people fear getting killed for marrying outside heterosexual norms of the society.
- Pressure to get married after coming out- Many individuals face denial, harassment and violence after coming out. They are forced to get married in a heterosexual setting leading to more chaos in their lives. This leads to finding MOC as a solution.
However, it’s a lack of acceptance that needs to go. What happened when a person got married in a MOC setting will be found out in my novel – Marriage of Convenience. Stay tuned to read more about it here!