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“When someone falls in love with another person, they don’t fall in love with their body; they fall in love with their heart.”
Trans woman Mahant Shivlakshmi and cishet man Sanjay Jhalte met on TikTok and fell in love. Two years after they first met, the couple tied the knot in a small town near Maharashtra's Nashik.
The highlight of their wedding ceremony on 1 June, they say, were the blessings from both their families.
"“We fell in love, got married, and now I know that I deserve him and he knows that he deserves me. We are really happy.”" - Shivlakshmi, Content Creator
In 2019, the Madras High Court held that a marriage solemnised between a trans woman and a male, both professing Hindu religion, is a valid marriage.
How the Couple ‘Met’ Online
Shivlakshmi, who holds a postgraduate degree, was ‘fascinated’ with social media applications and started an account on TikTok. Within months, she gained more than a million followers. But one face stood out, she narrates.
"“I got millions of fans. So, I started doing live sessions. Thousands of people used to watch me every day. But among all of them, one face used to stand out – who used to see me on live sessions every day. He used to ask – ‘Madam, how are you?’ ‘Have you eaten?’ ‘How is your health?’”" - Shivlakshmi
“She used to make videos on TikTok and do live sessions. I used to watch her live every day. Then, TikTok got banned. I followed her on Instagram and YouTube. On 14 February, we started talking and then, I asked if she would marry me,” her husband Sanjay told The Quint.
His Proposal, Her Condition
However, while he asked her to marry him – Shivlakshmi had a condition. She wanted the families to agree to their union.
“He proposed to me on Valentine’s Week and asked me to marry him. But I am a trans woman. I feared society. So, I said if our families agreed to our union, then I would marry him,” Shivlakshmi said.
Sanjay not only informed his family but also arrived with his parents and brother at her doorstep.
“Just like how marriages happen, he came with his parents and brother to my house and asked my hand in marriage. We both got married...the engagement happened, then the wedding happened,” a happy Shivlakshmi beamed, adding that their marriage could set an example to other couples.
“We don’t know if our marriage is recognised by society. But for us, society begins at family. And our family has accepted us. Maybe, I am the first transgender person to go from her parents house to her in-laws’,” Shivlakshmi told The Quint.
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