This article originally appeared on VICE India.
After marrying a trans woman in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a man is allegedly facing assault threats from his family who disagree with his choice. He said it got so bad he is seeking protection from the state.
"To my family, the idea of my love for a trans woman was revolting. We had been in a relationship for over six months when they realised we were serious about marriage. They immediately filed a complaint against me to the local police," alleges 38-year-old Basheer from Madurai in an interview with The News Minute.
Basheer met his 35-year-old spouse Kalki on Facebook, who is based in Chennai. Seven months after their first encounter, they got married on October 14 in Madurai.
He told The News Minute that his family took him down to the station the week before his wedding and told the police that he was stealing items from their house to give to Kalki. He alleges that the inspector made transphobic remarks and insulted him, “fully aware of the real intentions of my family.”
They proceeded with the wedding anyway. But his family didn’t take it well, resulting in assault threats from them.
On October 15, the couple filed a complaint with Madurai Collector TG Vinay to seek protection from family members.
This is the second wedding for Basheer, who lost his wife seven years ago. Kalki was a sex worker in Chennai before she connected with Basheer. She transitioned at 15. "He said my past doesn't matter and we will now survive with what he earns,” she said. “I didn't marry him for his money or looks. I married him because he is the first man to accept me completely for who I am.”
Speaking to The News Minute, Basheer said that he married Kalki because she genuinely cares for his wellbeing. “When I see her, I don't think about this 'trans' tag,” he said. ”All I see is my wife and someone who will care for me till the end.”