In our society where heterosexuality is the norm, enforced by law, validated by society and culture, it's not a surprise that dating sites only cater to the normative. Matrimonial sites are only for people who identify themselves as 'straight', adding to the taboofication of homosexuality. Amongst all this, comes Urvi Shah, a 24-year-old woman, founder of Arranged Gay Marriage Bureau.

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Arranged Gay Marriage Bureau is a website dedicated to set-up same-sex marriages in India. Launched in Chicago in 2015, the website has now moved to Ahmedabad, and has members from more than 20 countries.

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In an interview with Huffpost, Urvi Shah talks about the inception of this website, and the reproach she received from her acquaintances for her move. 

She says: 

"I started doing my research and came to meet a group of [gay] people in Delhi who were above the age of 30. I asked them what issues they face in their lives from the beginning of their journey ― about being confused about their sexuality, telling their parents, if their parents accepted them, things like that... I asked people why they don’t join [matrimonial websites], and I realized that none of them cater to LGBTQ people."

Let's grow India

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For a country that has penalised gay sex under Section 377, it comes as no surprise that people don't even know homosexuality exists. And those who do know about it, discard it under the doormat of 'unnatural'. 

Urvi Shah's initiative, while highlighting the need to sensitise people about homosexuality, also brings theory into practice, by acting upon radical ideas, that are very much the need of the hour.

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Urvi's website has introduced people from different cities, and even countries, who would have had no chance of meeting in an otherwise heterosexual arranged marriage set-up of our country.

Her client, Amar old NBC news, “I’m so introverted that had I met Tanmay separately, there was no chance I would have even spoken to him".

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Urvi also talked about the reactions she received from her friends and family. Because of the orthodox set-up of her family, Urvi initially set-up her website in Chicago, as her family requested to do so, and also asked her to 'not to tell my family members what I do for work'. Urvi's friends also gave not-so-supportive reactions initially. 

Urvi decided to change their minds, and educate them about homosexuality, instead of breaking off friendships.

People are the products of ideologies and conditioning, they have grown up with. With substantial efforts they could be made to understand the constructiveness of this society and its practices. 

Take a bow, Urvi Shah, for you have initiated something that holds the potential to indeed sensitise India's population about homosexuality.

Three cheers for Urvi Shah, for love that knows no bounds of gender & sexuality, and for the much needed activism that paved its way to commercial market.

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We acknowledge your efforts Urvi Shah, and wish you all the best.