Lesbian couple reunited by Indian court say they still face ‘emotional blackmail’

Lesbian couple reunited by Indian court say they still face ‘emotional blackmail’
Nassrin alleges her partner’s family tried to force her to do ‘conversion therapy’

A young lesbian couple from southern India who won a legal battle to live with each other said their ordeal was far from over as they still feared “emotional blackmail” from their families.

Adhila Nassrin, 22, filed a police complaint after her partner Fathima Noora, 23, was allegedly abducted by the latter’s relatives last week.

She also filed a plea seeking the intervention of the Kerala state high court for reuniting with her partner, as she alleged the family forcefully kept them away.

The court ruled on Monday that Ms Nassrin and Ms Noora were free to live together. The young couple, however, still fear their families may not let them move on with their lives.

“Noora’s parents told the court that we have their permission to live together. But after that, her family followed us and have been crying and emotionally blackmailing us,” Ms Nassrin told online news outlet The Quint. “They are saying all sorts of things to emotionally affect us.”

The young couple said while they were happy with the support from the court and the public, they feared they still aren’t free given the response from Ms Noora’s family.

When Ms Noora was with her parents, she had to go through mental abuse and was being forced to go through “conversion therapy”, Ms Nassrin alleged.

“They tried to give her religious counselling all these days. They tried to get her to agree to conversion therapy as well, but she withstood all that, and I have finally got her back,” Ms Nassrin told local Indian media outlet Onmanorama.

Ms Nassrin and Ms Noora fell in love when they were studying in Saudi Arabia and said the process of coming out was not easy for them.

“We felt suffocated all these years at our homes,” Ms Noora told the outlet. But the couple says their relationship was the reason they decided to take a step forward.

“The love and good feeling we felt in each other’s company is what inspired us the most,” she said.

The couple is now living at a shelter for LGBTQ+ people and other marginalised communities in northern Kerala’s Kozhikode district, but said they were happy together and ready for such a struggle.

India decriminalised gay sex in 2018. Gender minorities, however, still face hostility and are not allowed to get married, or are offered limited rights such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Several cases of families attempting to forcibly separate same-sex couples have reached courts. The families often resort to abuse despite legal edicts.