Lesbian police officers granted protection by Indian courts after their parents found out about their secret relationship

Lesbian couple holding hands, one wearing a rainbow t-shirt and another in a green striped top

A lesbian couple in India have been granted protection by the courts after one of their parents found out about their relationship.

Avni and Preeti, whose names have been changed to protect their identities, are both police officers and have been living together for a number of years in Mahisagar, Gujarat.

The women, both aged 24, had been open about their relationship with co-workers and friends – but kept their love for one another a secret from their parents.

But the secret finally spilled over when they entered into a maitri karar, a type of “friendship contract” in the region, which has been used by same-sex couples to legitimise their relationships in the absence of same-sex marriage.

They are educated women and in government service but they didn’t shy from fighting for their right to live and love the way they want.

When they found out about the friendship contract, Preeti’s parents started harassing the couple, according to The Times of India

“They came to our house and demanded that I leave my job and go back with them,” Preeti said.

“They don’t understand my relationship with Avni and they don’t care about what I want in life and how I want to live it.”

The lesbian couple in India said Preeti’s parents have backed away from their campaign of harassment since the court order came through.

Fearing for their safety, the couple wrote to the local superintendent of police (SP) – but they received no response.

They went on to file a public interest litigation (PIL), a type of lawsuit in India, with the high court in Gujarat, in an effort to gain protection from the police.

Mahisagar SP Usha Rada told the Times of India that they were investigating the women’s complaint.

“In the meantime, the two went ahead and filed a PIL. We are only concerned about how they will do their police work. We don’t have anything to do with their personal lives.”

The women were finally granted protection on July 23, when Justice A J Desai declared that the SP must “look into the matter and take immediate steps”.

“If required, the petitioners shall be provided police protection.”

Since then, Preeti’s parents have left the women alone.

“They never expected it’d go to court, said Zakir Rathod, an advocate in the case.

“These girls showed a lot of courage. They are educated women and in government service but they didn’t shy from fighting for their right to live and love the way they want.”