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5 Real Life Stories Of Finding Love And Acceptance On Tinder

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TinderEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #AllTypesAllSwipes, by Tinder and Youth Ki Awaaz to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week. Tinder now supports more ways to express gender identity by giving users the ability to add information about their gender outside the binary. Share your experiences of love, dating and authenticity here.

Tinder believes every new person in your life expands your horizon, and being inclusive, accepting and allowing authentic expression should drive much of this expansion. But don’t let us tell you that. Here we hear from 5 Tinder users and their stories of love, friendship and adventure.

To love and the freedom to choose.

The Label Of Love

I swiped right with him a little over two years ago. Tinder became text, and we decided to meet for drinks one crisp winter evening. It was electrifying – the pun game was strong, the jokes were on point and our collective sass could have won the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But then again, there was zero sexual spark. It was fight or flight. Our way or the highway. We knew what we had to do.

I found one of my closest gay friends that day, and it was the start of a bromance that still goes strong. He eventually moved away to Germany, found love and even got married this March, but our relationship still goes strong, through memes and messages alike. See, not every happy ending needs an accompanying love story. Sometimes, love is love is love, and the beauty of it lies in the fact that it’s free from all labels. Just like it’s supposed to be.

– Aniruddha Mahale, 29, Mumbai

The Super Likeable One

I grew up in Kerala, and enjoyed dressing up as a girl when I was young. This made me the target of a lot of jokes to the point where even the teachers would make fun of me. I had the fortune of very supportive parents, who were doing everything they could to give me the best education. I didn’t share stories of my bullying with them. I was a highly achieving child, and so they never suspected anything was wrong. Looking back, I woke up every day fearful about the day ahead and how I was going to get through it. I struggled growing up and dated women since that’s what I was meant to do. Checking out guys would also induce panic, and an acute self-awareness that what I was doing was wrong, and people would hate me if I told them. There was no concept of gender or sexuality where I grew up, no conversation around it, so understanding myself was a long shot, forget accepting.

In my 2nd year of college, I joined a non-profit, and moved to Bangalore after getting an engineering degree to work with them full time. Just having broken up with a long term girlfriend and still not being able to truly identify what was amiss, I took a short course in demystifying sexuality and finally had enough information to make an informed choice. I joined Tinder in 2015, and was very awkward since I had no experience with men and how to navigate romantic spaces with them. A year on, Tinder and an existential crisis later, I was on my way back to India from a three-week solo trip in Mauritius and Dubai and told myself on the plane that I will land and delete the app. As soon as I landed, I got a Super Like notification. Since his location was miles away, I realised there’s no real harm in talking. He was funny, cute and intelligent, and I thought let’s at least be friends. Over a shared interest for travelling and similar family values, we found ourselves on a six and a half hour Skype call.

A few months later, he came down to India, and meeting him in person felt completely natural and almost perfect. Two days after arriving he gave me a ring, a ‘will you go out with me exclusively’ ring, and to this date I wear it. Two and a half years later, I’ve moved to be with him, and weekends are spent with either his parents or mine in complete acceptance of our choices. I want to thank Tinder for the invention of Super Like. Without it, his profile would have never shown up; and to think I almost deleted Tinder! Adopting children is a big part of our shared goals, and watching the 377 judgement in India, I dared to hope that just maybe we’ll be counted as equal citizens with the right to adopt children, as and when we’re ready.

– Aswin, 27, Bangalore

Mastering Long Distance Love

I moved to Bangalore in 2016 for my Masters degree, and didn’t know anyone in the city. I got on Tinder with no agenda, primarily to make new friends and meet anyone who could take me around and get me acquainted with the city. That is how I met Teena. We matched and started talking. I had a Harry Potter reference in my bio, she mentioned it and we connected immediately. After a few days, we moved to WhatsApp and spoke constantly. We finally decided to meet at a music concert and realised how we feel about each other. On the January 9, 2017, she officially asked me to be her girlfriend; we both just felt like we fit together. I didn’t get on Tinder with the purpose of finding a date, but destiny clearly had other plans. We’ve been together ever since that fateful day in January. After my Masters I moved to Bombay, and she remains in Bangalore. My family knows about her, and we just did a family vacation in Kerala together. On hearing the 377 verdict, I  video called her immediately. I really wish I was with her on the day, by her side, just to be able to hug her. I only wanted her, and I’m sad we weren’t physically together that day of all days.

– Pooja Nair, 26, Mumbai

The Courage To Come Out

The 377 verdict should give me the courage to take my name and share a photo, but I’m not ready. I haven’t even had the courage to come out publicly as queer.  After many less than perfect first dates, I matched with a trans man on Tinder. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was signing up for, and my instinct to go meet him was part rebellion and part curiosity. We met at an LGBTQ film festival, and I feel like something in my world shifted that day. I met the community, was introduced to some fine cinema, got an education on identity and most importantly met an older queer woman who eventually helped me come out to my parents. When I say ‘helped’, I mean she literally did it for me. As for my Tinder match, we’re hoping to be married in the next two years, as soon as we navigate how to come out publicly. But until then, we’re loving and supporting each other every day. And there are few things that assist in self-acceptance like love.

– Anonymous, 28, Delhi

The One With Serendipity

In February, I landed in Mumbai to start working in the women’s rights space. I’d left my entire LGBT+ support network behind in London and I was really sad. My friend persuaded me to download Tinder and I was really sarcastic about it at first because I didn’t want to date at all! Within minutes I matched with a woman who introduced me to her WhatsApp group of close lesbian friends. I started messaging on the group and everybody responded and I just felt very accepted. A few days later, another woman was added to the group and straight away I noticed her sense of humour, her memes and especially the adorable comments she made. Plus she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen! By this point, I’d moved to Jodhpur for work and so I took a chance and messaged her directly on WhatsApp to say ‘hi’. I wasn’t really expecting anything but she messaged back and we really got on. Over the next three weeks, our messages turned into phone calls and then video calls. We were virtually dating and getting to know each other and things were going really well. When I was back in Mumbai, we met for the first time and one date turned into spending an entire week together. Something about being with her already felt like home! Two weeks later, I was introducing her to my best friends and sibling in Goa and we have been going strong ever since. The whole thing feels like a fairy tale and I cannot believe that I was so lucky to meet such an intelligent, witty and beautiful partner. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for Tinder.

– As told to Gaysi for #QueeringWithTinder

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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