Indian lesbian couple call out hotel for homophobia

#CHENNAI: On 6 September 2018, India saw a flurry of rainbow-colored flags fill the street across the country, in celebration of the decriminalisation of gay sex; something the LGBTQI+ community had been fighting for a long time.

But does this mean that same-sex couples have received full acceptance in the society and homophobia has ceased to exist? Not quite.

Most recently, two women from Chennai learned this from their own personal experience.

Rasika Gopalakrishnan and her girlfriend, Shivangi Singh, were partying at The Slate House in Chennai when they were allegedly asked by the hotel staff to leave, on the grounds that they were ‘causing discomfort to other guests present there’.

“Four to five men were standing at the bar and were lecherously staring at us while we were dancing, making us very uncomfortable. As far as we knew, we weren’t doing anything different from how other heterosexual couples were dancing – occasionally holding hands, hugging, etc. We were very well aware that we were in a public space, and made calculated efforts to remain as decent as possible.

Rasika, someone who calls herself ‘visibly queer’, shared with TheNewsMinute.

Following this, when the two went to use the washroom, they were allegedly asked to step out of the cubicle.“Four male bouncers and one female bouncer were inside the washroom, demanding to know what we were doing in the washroom together. They accused us of “doing something else”, they warned us about “several complaints” they had received from the guests, and they insisted that we leave immediately. So we left.”Rasika wrote on the hotel’s review page on Facebook. 

After Rasika and Shivangi chose to share this on social media, they were contacted by the hotel staff who tried to mitigate the situation, only to make it worse.

As reported by TNM, The Slate spokesperson Varun Ganeshan, after providing an initial apology, went on to add, “They were initially drinking at the bar, and they started making out at the bar. They got a little over extra – I don’t know if they don’t remember because they were too drunk. It went out of the way. There were at least 4-5 complaints because we do get a lot of these newly married and family people at the bar as well. I’m not saying this to cover up for myself.”

According to Rasika, “He also said at some point that since we made our story public on social media, he could have also released the videos. (Talk about threatening us)”.

When the girls insisted that they would like to confirm what is there in the footage, he didn’t pick their calls for hours, and finally called back saying that there is no need to watch any footage, it won’t be necessary.

The couple has denied allegations of having conducted themselves in any way that compromised the decorum of a public space, as reported by TNM

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