CHENNAI: Shuruti (26) perhaps can indulgently take the credit of being the first strong voice of the lesbian women in the city.
Born to parents who are progressive and highly educated, Shuruti is a Chennaiite to the core. Growing up in a house with two siblings and a huge bunch of both male and female friends, she had the most regular life. She attended one of the best schools in the city, studied Visual Communications and now runs her own independent business.
Shuruti admits that she discovered her sexual orientation towards women rather late in life, during a chance meeting with a mutual female friend. “Till I was 20, I had absolutely no idea that I could be attracted to women. During that summer, I had a chance meeting with a girl, who was majoring in Psychology and who happens to be my friend’s sister. “We got talking. One day she kissed me and I yielded.... I realised I quite liked it.”
But Shuruti’s newfound experience did not last long as this other girl being bi-sexual, had a boyfriend. She eventually broke up with Shuruti.
By last year, Shuruti had her third broken relationship, leaving her depressed and lonely. It was then that she started looking around for help from support networks, but found none. “At that point, I was feeling very depressed. I wanted to talk to someone. When I checked on the Internet, I couldn’t find any support network for lesbians in the city. I badly wanted one. Thus was born the Facebook page, Queer Chennai, in January 2010.”
Within a day, the page received four requests from women. “At present, have 110 members, both gays and lesbians. We also have weekly support meetings.”
“As a group of boys and girls, we meet at coffee shops and pubs mostly. We are a quiet group. We keep to ourselves and behave decently. So far, we have not had any problems. We talk about everything under the sun. We listen, support each other and also find our dates here,” she added. An average lesbian is highly educated, intelligent and has a mind of their own, she said. “I would say they are very successful in whatever field they are in. They are in the age group of 21-45. We also have a fair share of married women who are lesbians.”
According to Suruthi, there are fewer lesbians in Chennai who have come out of the closet as compared to Bangalore. “Most of the women here are bi-sexuals, who are either dating men or are married to them, but nevertheless are interested in women.”
She attributed the high number of bi-sexual women in Chennai to the strong moorings to tradition and culture. They also have another support network called RIOV in Google groups and on Facebook. For support call: 9884700164.
(Names changed to protect privacy)