A gay couple recently became the first to exchange marriage vows in the Indian state of Telanganga, and they have shared images of the celebration online and expressed hope for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages in their country.
Abhay Dange and Supriya Chakraborty had a "promising ceremony" Saturday on the outskirts of Hyderabad, officiated by a friend, Sophia David, The Indian Express reports. The marriage is not legally recognized, but the men seek to raise the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and work toward expanded rights. "We hope to live in a world with no closets," they told local media.
They met eight years ago via a dating app, Chakraborty said on the Official Humans of Hyderabad Instagram page. "Our first date lasted an amazing 8 hours!" he said. They soon realized they were right for each other, and their parents have been supportive of their relationship, he said.
"It all still feels really dreamy," he said of the ceremony. "To be able to call Abhay my spouse feels so beautiful. To have your loved ones accept, love and bless you is a blessing and we're grateful for this, for this day and each day of our lives."
Their photos are being shared widely, and other queer couples in India say they hope to have similar events.
Meanwhile, more than 5,000 people recently took part in the 14th annual Namma Pride March in the city of Bengaluru, The Times of India reports. They called for the legalization of same-sex marriage and other moves toward LGBTQ+ equality. Gay sex was decriminalized in 2018, but many legal protections are lacking.
In the past decade, Indian celebrities have come out and some of the country's Bollywood films have had LGBTQ+ storylines, according to the Associated Press. However, many queer people continue to face stigma, isolation, and persecution.