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Multiple Generations, Same-Sex Couples, Many In-Laws: The Indian Family is Changing

Queer Families: Jyotsna Gokhale is one of 12 people who live together across three generations in four flats in an apartment building in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: Dinesh Krishnan

“Someone asked me who wears the pants in your house. I said we all do,” laughs Delhi-based knitwear designer Jyotsna Gokhale.

Gokhale is one of 12 people from across three generations who live in four houses of an apartment building reconstructed to accommodate the entire family. She is divorced, and lives with her son and partner in one house; in the other three houses live her parents, two sisters and their families. Gokhale has a cordial relationship with her ex-husband while her former mother-in-law visits each time she does pop-ups of the knitwear she sells.

When Mumbai-based architect Tushar Mistry decided to come out as gay, he somehow did not feel the need to tell his parents outright, or give his relationship a name. “They understood,” he says. Today, his parents, from a small town in Gujarat, invite his partner Ekant Singh to perform a puja usually done only by a heterosexual, married couple. The family pujari initially refused to conduct the ritual with the two of them, but later he came around. “When he realised how I care for the family much like a bahu would, he blessed us together,” says Singh, an interior designer, who works with his partner. It’s not about education or big-city living, but about being open, he says. “Tushar’s parents are very accepting of the fact that society has changed. His father once told his mother, ‘We have lived our lives the way we wanted to, now it’s their time to live theirs the way they want to’.”

To read more: originally published in the Hindu

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