An unforgettable get-together for the two lesbian couples in Kerala who fought a regressive system
KOZHIKODE, KERALA: In a heartwarming display of resilience and love, two lesbian couples from Kerala, Adhila and Noora, and Afeefa and Sumayya, recently came together to share their experiences and celebrate their hard-fought journey.
Meeting in Kozhikode, they spent hours reflecting on the challenges they faced when targeted by family members and neighbours, who accused them of disrespecting cultural norms and family values.
The couples’ decision to stay together resulted in their ostracization by their respective families. However, matters escalated when they started receiving threats from close relatives and neighbours, leaving them fearing for their safety.
It was during this tumultuous period that Afeefa and Sumayya sought assistance from Vanaja, a community-based organisation dedicated to advocating for the rights of gender minorities and other marginalised groups.
With Vanaja’s support, Afeefa and Sumayya bravely decided to come out and embrace their love. On January 27, they began their journey together, settling in Ernakulam. Their families, troubled by their disappearance, filed missing persons’ reports. Fortunately, the couple was granted protection by the Malappuram judicial magistrate’s court, shielding them from potential harm.
However, after approximately four months of living together, their newfound happiness was abruptly interrupted when Afeefa’s family forcefully took her away on May 30.
Faced with uncertainty and concern about Afeefa’s potential exposure to conversion therapy, Sumayya took decisive action and filed a habeas corpus petition in the Kerala High Court.
Despite the court’s directive for Afeefa to remain with her parents, Sumayya managed to maintain close contact with her partner. After enduring months of family turmoil, the couple eventually reunited and found a safe haven in Kozhikode. Yet, their journey is far from over, as they continue to receive threatening calls from anonymous numbers, prompting them to fear venturing into public spaces.
The pain of Afeefa’s traumatic experience with conversion therapy, endured during her time with her family in Kozhikode, lingers as a haunting reminder of the struggles faced by many in the LGBTQ+ community.
However, the couples express gratitude for the unwavering support they received from Vanaja, an invaluable NGO championing LGBTQ+ rights and supporting marginalised individuals. The organisation provided shelter, emotional support, and legal assistance to both couples during their most challenging moments.