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Photo Seires: Sunshine on the Street by Kothacheru

During lockdown, I hosted live shows online during Pride month and noticed an unfamiliar account following my every move and showing up at every live show I put on. Months later, at a family function where a relative put a little too much Kumkum on my forehead, making it fall into my eyes, I met Raji. I felt an exceptional warmth I’d never experienced and then realized she was offering me a towel to clear my eyes. A few minutes into the conversation, she asked me an amusing question, “What is drag?” I thought it came out of nowhere. I didn’t realize at the time that my “adoring social media fan” was none other than Raji.

Our little conversations led to an exchange of numbers and then finally, a romantic relationship. After a few months of dating, I was still skeptical about revealing my sexuality. I dropped her a text one day: I am pansexual. The next day, I got back two weblinks about pansexuality and a question: “Is this what you meant?” I needed to know whether she understood me, so I called her. “It doesn’t matter what your sexuality or gender is. I may not fully understand these words and feelings, but it only matters whether you love me and wish to be with me,” she said

As time passed, we decided to make this a stronger bond, marrying each other. I thought about it a lot, and I realized that I felt no pressure to be with her; I just felt happy and the most seen with her. When I opened about my relationship, people questioned my queerness. They put me in a box of their assumptions, a place I didn’t want to be. I made it through all the judgment because of Raji, holding my hand firmly throughout. That support made it clear that I was marrying her for myself, and she would help me live my most authentic self.

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