Despite the decriminalising of Section 377 in India, being a queer person in the country is a struggle every single day. Everything you do, from going out with your partner to simple displays of affection will be questioned by those around you. But as two people in love, do you owe people as explanation for being yourself?
Two such young women, Rasika Gopalakrishnan and Shivangi Singh spoke up about the recent harassment they faced at the hands of a hotel's staff in Chennai. In a Facebook post, Rasika spoke about the way the people present at Slate Hotel on Khadar Nawaz Khan road behaved when she and her girlfriend were dancing.
"Four to five men were standing at the bar and were lecherously staring at us while we were dancing, making us very uncomfortable. As far as we knew, we weren’t doing anything different from how other heterosexual couples were dancing – occasionally holding hands, hugging, etc. We were very well aware that we were in a public space, and made calculated efforts to remain as decent as possible," Rasika told a news portal.
Rasika went on to explain how the two went to the washroom because they had gotten increasingly uncomfortable, "In less than five seconds, we heard frantic knocks at the door, accompanied by both male and female voices demanding that we immediately step out. It frightened me to hear this, and I felt safer inside the cubicle than outside it. We stepped out, scared, trembling. One woman and two male bouncers were standing right outside the stall, with two other male bouncers lining the way out of the washroom. One of the male bouncers shouted at us, and said, 'What were you doing in there?' I replied, 'I was helping my friend out, she was feeling sick.' He never stopped to listen to us, and his immediate response was, 'Were you helping your friend or were you doing something else?'"
Shivangi added that the bouncers then asked them to leave the premises and intimidated them, "When the bouncers descended upon us in the club’s bathroom, there was no requirement of all five of them. Rasika and I are 5’1”, weighing about 50-55 kilograms each. There was absolutely no need for an unnecessary display of brute force to outnumber us. They could have spoken to us kindly. They didn’t bother asking us any questions. We were simply given their verdict – leave the club, you’re being a nuisance."
When asked for a response, the working partner at The Slate Hotels, Varun Ganeshan told the news website, "They were initially drinking at the bar, and they started making out at the bar. They got a little over extra – I don’t know if they don’t remember because they were too drunk. It went out of the way. There were at least 4-5 complaints because we do get a lot of these newly married and family people at the bar as well. I’m not saying this to cover up for myself."
He also added that the hotel will not be issuing an apology since it isn't their fault, "I told them that we cannot do it because there’s a mistake from their side which they are not ready to admit,” he says.
Is this kind of discrimination acceptable? In a day and age where we are constantly fighting for equality amongst genders and sexes, these incidents set us back.
Featured Image: Facebook
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