It all started in the fall of 2017 when Aveena, a Data Analyst with Indian roots casually swiped right on Alissa, without even peeping into her impressive bio. Somewhere between matching on a dating app and spending three-and-a-half hours on their first date, they both realised that they had found their soulmates.
From that day on to the moment they walked down the aisle and said, "I do", this couple has fought against all odds to defend their love. Mind you, their journey wasn't as smooth and perfect as their whimsical wedding.
At a very young age, I was taught that being gay is a sin and wrong. It created a difficult environment to ever feel comfortable with coming out. For 30 years, I was living a double life. I had to hide the fact that I was gay to protect myself.
In fact, the church that Aveena was a part of closed their doors to her as soon as she came out of the closet. All of a sudden she found herself in a situation where her enormous support system boiled down to a very small number of people.
But in Alissa's love and support, Aveena found the strength to fight back.
During this time, I had to not only defend my faith, my relationship with Alissa and our marriage, but I also had to defend myself. Everything I had worked for and achieved In my life prior to coming out was completely stripped away because my family and the friends only saw me as a gay woman; a woman filled with sin.
Even with Aveena's family's disapproval, the couple went ahead with a fairytale bi-cultural wedding that resembled a big fat Indian shaadi. They had a full-fledged mehndi and sangeet ceremony where they danced on Bollywood songs and ate a lot of Indian food while drying off their henna.
Aveena still remembers the empowering moment when she kissed her wife Alissa for the first time. That 'I do' broke her free from the clutches of years of judgment and opession, Aveena felt like she had conquered the battle of love.
It was as a moment of resolve following all the oppression I felt growing up as an LGBTQ+ person in a conservative community. As the judgment and homophobia from people in our lives only intensified leading up to our wedding, it was wonderful to feel like that fight was over, and we could celebrate our new family with joy.
- Aveena Mathew
Even though Aveena's family distanced themselves from the couple, didn't attend the wedding and refused to acknowledge Alissa, the couple is thankful for the love and support that was provided by Aveena's elder sister and her family.
Though the couple has still not found their place in Aveena's family, they're optimistic that someday their family will be able to co-exist with Aveena's choices and respect the love of her life.
The best thing we can do is to continue to show love even when it's hard and painful. At the end of the day, I love my family regardless. I believe we can still coexist even though we don’t agree or see eye-to-eye on things. Love Is the first step to understanding someone who Is different.
Their heartwarming story proves that love is not always rainbows and butterflies but a twisted rollercoaster. However with the right person by your side, you're willing to go through all the ups and downs just to be the love of your life.
It really has been fascinating to see how big our love Is. I know that might sound silly, but because of the negativity we had received from Aveena's family and community, It really made us feel grateful for each other and our love. We fought really hard to get to where we are now as a married interracial gay couple.
With their understanding and rock-solid bond, Aveena and Alissa are giving us some major couple goals. And we really cannot stop gushing over those adorable pictures.
At the end of the day when the love is pure, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Hi Jayenge.
All images are directly sourced from Aveena and Alissa and clicked by Carley Jayne, unless mentioned otherwise.