Activist and noted bachelor Harish Iyer isn’t getting any younger, as his mother Padma will tell him and anyone who will listen, apparently. In India, where homosexuality was re-criminalized in 2013, Padma placed the nation’s first same-sex personal ad for her seasonally single son:
Seeking 25-40, well-placed, animal-loving, vegetarian GROOM for my SON (36, 5’11”), who works with an NGO, Caste No Bar (though IYER preferred)
“I’m proud of her. It was her idea,” Iyer told The Guardian. “My mum was like: ‘You don’t have a boyfriend, you’re not so young.’ She was concerned for her aging son like any Indian mum would be, irrespective of whether he is homosexual or heterosexual.”
According to Iyer, three major newspapers refused to carry the ad because it was illegal, but Sachin Kalbag, the executive editor of the Mumbai daily Mid-Day, never hesitated to publish it.
“It raised no eyebrows at all,” Kalbag said. “We are pro-equal rights and have been running vociferous campaigns against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
The 2013 ruling by India’s Supreme Court reversed a 2009 decision that had lifted the ban on homosexual acts between consenting adults. But despite that major setback, in 2014 the nation officially began recognizing transgender people as a third sex, perhaps signaling a change in social attitudes.
As for Iyer and his mom, the ad seems to be working. She’s received at least three responses so far, though her preference for Iyer — a Brahmin caste, the top of India’s social hierarchy — may be a deterrent. Like any mother she just wants the best for her baby, but it’s no dealbreaker for Harish.
“I’ll make my own choice,” he said. “There’s no issue for me, as long as he is vegetarian and loves animals.”
Les Fabian Brathwaite — meat-lover, animal-hater…confirmed bachelor.