India: His mother had posted a ‘groom-wanted’ ad for him: Harish Iyer, a beloved face of the LGBTQ movement

Sexually abused as a child for almost 11 years, Harish Iyer was one of the first male rape victims who had broken their silence. Today, he is a fierce LGBTQ rights activist that even appeared on Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate to share his gut-wrenching tale.

When you belong to a marginalised group, by daring to stay at peace with yourself and your choices, your very existence becomes a revolutionary thing.

So, in that regard, Harish Iyer, with his modish pink tresses packed into a bun; his tongue-in-cheek responses to hate speech with the language of love; and his ability to find humour in the darkest situations, is in a constant state of rebellion.

But as a survivor of child sexual abuse who chose to break his silence, Harish recognises the “societal-queer” – that is, everyone tagged a misfit due to misplaced notions of gender roles, sexuality, caste, religion, and class – and wants to continue doing a lot more than just showing camaraderie, he is up in arms offering up comradeship.

Meet one of the foremost LGBTQ rights activists of our time, Harish Iyer.

“My mom brought me up in a way that I’d wake her up in the dead of the night to confess a lie. So, I had to be honest with her about my sexuality as well. She was angry at first, but I later explained that I will be happy to marry a woman if she wanted me to, but would she have gotten her daughter married to a gay guy, if she had a daughter? She hugged me and accepted me, but asked me to keep this a secret. And here I am — presenting the Gaydio Show! Some promises are difficult to keep. But today my mom is also out of the closet as the mother of an LGBT child,” he says.

In fact, the duo made a splash in the media when his mother posted a matrimonial ad in the papers for Harish, looking for a male suitor: “25-40, well-placed, animal-loving, vegetarian and preferably Iyer.” This ad received widespread attention, and they were lauded for trying to normalise something so taboo, on such a platform. However, one clause in the ad – “preferably Iyer” –created a furore, and served as a hard-hitting lesson in intersectional feminism for him.

“I was completely oblivious of my own privilege as a Brahmin until the ill-timed light-hearted matrimonial advert hit the stands. Read more via Yourstory