Vivek Kishore is a 24 year old asexual who is currently residing at Gurgaon with his husband, Vishwa. Previously, Vivek collaborated with Fifty Shades Of Gay for a feature article, to share his story and help others who are in need of it. This week, we had a chat with him once again, and this time he shares the story of how his life has been, since the last time we interviewed him. It is a delight for us to work with him again.
Please describe how your childhood was.
I was born and raised in Dubai for thirteen years of my life. And I believe, that is responsible for who I am as a person today – being raised in a country that follows rules and regulations, strictly, I have been more disciplined than ever. Been very shy and someone who doesn’t go off-limits.
Can you elaborate to our readers, about what the terms ‘Asexual’ and ‘Agender’ actually stand for?
There are numerous definitions of the terms asexuality and agender. One can easily look them up on the internet. I can only let others know what it means to me/how I identify as both.
Asexuality: I do not feel sexually attracted to any of the sexes. I am sex-positive i.e. I am not disgusted/repulsed by the act of having sex/touching/intimacy. And I am romantic too. I am okay with having love relationships with any of the sexes – if at all it was a possibility.
Agender: I do not identify as man or woman only because of the societal norms of what a man is supposed to do vs. what a female is. I feel burdened by ‘trying to be a man’ according to what society thinks.
Coming out to your family is no easy feat. How did handle that?
I came out to family in a semi-formal way. Over the weekend I had a sit down with my mother and sister and I just told them about my sexuality. They were cool(as long as he’s not into men because that would be hard to manage)
I came out to the rest of the people through FSOG’s article.
What are the challenges you faced, due to your sexuality?
I am always being forced to choose a gender. Occasionally, I get to choose a gender.
Several myths surround asexuality. Can you name a few common myths and help us break them down?
1. Asexuals do not/cannot have sex.
2. Asexuality is the same as celibacy.
3. How are you so sure? have you ever tried having sex?
Do you think a lot has changed since the decriminalisation of section 377?
Not much has changed at the local level/community level. There is still a lot of work needed to sensitise the public about LGBTQIA+ . Just brands posting pride flags or pride logos won’t help. Unless they start talking about it with people.
How has your life been, post your interview with us in July 2016?
A lot has changed since then. I have been able to share my story to a lot of people. People have thanked me for coming out. So many have even come out to me and seek guidance.
PEOPLE TOOK ME SERIOUSLY, especially my folks. I felt more confident about myself.
Finding a partner, for the LGBTQIA+ individuals, is always quite hard – especially in India. How was your experience?
It was quite easy for me. I’ve often heard Grindr is filled with trash. But I was able to find gold in it. It wasn’t easy to pursue my partner though – he has been through a lot of heartbreaks – convincing him wasn’t easy.
What I’d like to point out here – the conditions of finding partners aren’t easy for us. Indians don’t go out on dates – let alone going on dates with the same sex. I had to use excuses to go and meet with this guy. A lot of individuals face that here.
Physical abuse is not unheard of when it comes to LGBTQIA+ relationships. Have you experienced it first hand?
Yes. I have experienced it first hand. As soon as I opened up about my relationship to my sister, first and later, my mother – My sister showed up with her boyfriend the same day, slapped me and bashed me. She took away my phone – snooped it and read through my personal messages. She asked me to share my boyfriend’s location and to take us there immediately. I felt helpless and kept sobbing while I was forced to go with them to my partner’s house.
As soon as my family was greeted with a ‘Namaste’ my sister slapped him. While her boyfriend bashed him up. They told him how he was being a ‘bad influence’ on me. A quarrel followed and Vishwa’s mother was called on phone – Vishwa told his mother about what happened(also telling her that he was beaten – which my sister and her boyfriend outright denied). I was even taken to a Police station by my folks – they asked me to complain to them about their abuse. That was totally uncalled for and I felt harassed at that moment.
I was asked not to be in touch with Vishwa at all, that moment onwards.
Congratulations on your wedding! When did you first meet your partner, Vishwa, and can you tell us how things took a turn from there?
I had a chat with him on Grindr. We decided to meet at a cafe in Ahmedabad. We met several times over the next five months, he proposed and I said yes. And we both decided to move in – and that’s when I informed my family.
Two months after the abuse from my family – I informed them about my relationship with Vishwa and that I wanted to marry him – we were also visiting a psychiatrist who was counselling us as well. I started visiting him then, and got married during one of my visits. And then I moved to Delhi NCR, with Vishwa’s family.
What is it like to be in a relationship with a gay person, with you being an asexual?
Nothing different – both of us don’t mind labels. To me, it’s just two humans/ two living beings who are in love with each other.
Who proposed to whom? Can you tell us what exactly happened, the day you got engaged?
We just woke up one morning and he was asking about why I love him so much and would I want to be with him forever and while I was answering, he went into another room and came back laying beside me, kissing my fingers. He just took one of my fingers in his mouth and slid the ring over my finger.
How did your parents and family react to the news of your engagement? How long did they take to accept it? Also, what was Vishwa’s parents reaction?
I told them only after two years of marriage. That I have decided to marry Vishwa. They never accepted my relationship even after I moved to Delhi.
Vishwa’s parents reaction was the exact opposite. We had a traditional Hindu wedding wonderfully orchestrated by Vishwa’s mother.
Tell us about your beautiful wedding day.
Well, it happened on the Wednesday, First of February, 2017.
As Vishwa says it, it was a 3-D Wedding for its Day, Date and Deity
1. DAY: Wednesday or Budh-vaar: Budh is sometimes portrayed as man and sometimes as a woman. You can read more about Budh – the child of Tara and Brihaspati and Chandra – here: https://devdutt.com/articles/mercury-and-the-sage/
2. DATE: 01-02 It’s an easy date to remember.
3. DEITY: Our wedding was on Vasant Panchmi – the Day of Saraswati – the goddess of knowledge – associated with arts and culture. Vishwa is a teacher and I run a preschool, Vishwa’s mother runs a daycare and has been a principal too.
STD and HIV are some of the major concerns for the LGBTQIA+ community, not only in India but around the world. Could you please tell us how being with an HIV positive person help you change your views on people who are positive?
My views haven’t really changed since being married to an HIV positive partner.
I had already learnt about HIV/AIDS. I am just able to learn more.
What I would suggest others it to just learn about it before forming any opinion about it.
How has your knowledge about HIV grown since then?
I have learnt extensively about it. I even keep tabs on Vishwa’s health and I know a lot more than he does, about his own reports.
Describe your journey so far in five words.
Life’s a bitch. And then you die. I am just living life and taking it slow. Accepting whatever it throws to you.
What is your opinion on LGBTQIA+ platforms such as Fifty Shades of Gay? Also, give our readers some advice on how to manage coming in terms with their sexuality and some tips on finding love.
Keep sharing more and more stories, and particularly videos at common places like their office, home, malls, public places etc showcasing their life and how they face challenges/ how normal their lives actually are.
You should come out only when you feel like it. Don’t get carried away. Don’t listen to your friends – half of them won’t even bother and those who do, won’t be there to help you when in need of support. You come out only when you are ready for it. If there’s one thing I would have changed about my coming out – is that I should have done it when I was financially independent. That way I wouldn’t have to fear my family. (But I was sure of Vishwa’s family, so I went ahead anyway)