My mom was ‘loud and proud’ about my sexuality: Gay groom Amit Shah, who married his boyfriend in a Hindu ceremony

Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju
Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju; Photo credit: Charmi Pena

Shah, whose wedding inspired the LGBT community, talks to the American Bazaar about loving without barriers.

When New Jersey-based Indian American gay couple Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju tied the knot in an elegant ceremony, they weren’t really thinking about the society and what would people say. They were, instead, making official the strong foundation the two were setting up based on love and cementing it through a traditional ceremony that reflected their roots.

Shah and his husband, Madiraju, not only got married in public, but also chose to celebrate the way weddings are celebrated in the subcontinent – in a temple, with all the traditional rituals, amongst friends and family and intricate ethnic wear, as the world looked upon their unique and inspiring wedding for LGBT community.

“We came out to our parents about our relationship, about a year and a half ago,” Shah tells the American Bazaar, in an interview. “We had dated and decided to be together. We are exceptionally lucky as our families were supportive.”

He adds, “We chose to come out to them before our court marriage so that we have all of their blessings and love with us.”

ALSO READ: Two gay Indian American men of Malayalee origin get married in California (April 14, 2015)

Perhaps his upbringing in the United States may have played a part in it. Shah was born and raised in New Jersey and his Indian family never pressured him into believing or behaving in a way that didn’t come naturally to him.

Shah is a choreographer and founder of the award-winning dance company Aatma Performing Arts, based in New York, with chapters in New Jersey and California.

His husband, Madiraju, works at a risk management company.

Madiraju came to the country only about a decade ago. He lived in Chicago to complete his master’s before moving to the New York City, where the two met.

“We met at a party and were introduced through common friends,” Shah says. “There was a connect in our first meeting itself and we continued meeting. We knew we had to spend the life together as we perfectly complement each other. After about a year of being together we decided to come out to our parents, who then embarked on this journey along with us.”

The two got married in a civil ceremony at the New York City Hall in January. But when Madiraju’s parents, who live in India were coming to the US for the first time, they thought the time was just right for a traditional Hindu ceremony. Choosing the venue, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville, New Jersey, for a private abhishek ceremony was a natural extension of their and their families’ faith.

Asked if the thought of society, relatives and people ever crept in their minds, and whether they were concerned about what people would say, Shah says, “Of course that thought was there in our minds. But my mom decided to support me through out. She maintained that she would do anything for her son’s happiness and was in fact loud and proud about it.”

Having supportive parents served as a major boost for both of them.

The two are also very practical and are carefully planning their lives together. After a wedding that is being toasted across the globe, are the two looking to a get-away and have a cozy honeymoon? Shah responds, “We are not doing a honeymoon right now. We built a new house together in New Jersey in January. We live together and have already built a life. We also have a dog together and are a happy little family.”

The couple’s wasn’t just a routine temple wedding. They had an elegant sangeet in their backyard, complete with marigold decorations and angrakha kurtas. They also had a cocktail party in New York to celebrate the place where they would often meet when they were dating.

About their future plans, Shah says, “We travel a lot and we are looking ahead to go to Italy in August. We will be blogging and working with a lot of brands and designers. By fall we are also launching our own clothing line, so all this is keeping us very busy but very much in love.”

10 Comments

  1. Tanay Mishra

    They don’t look gay to me. One of them looks weak, and the other looks impotent.

  2. Premanand S

    Madam.. I’m gay by birth not by my choice. I’m also willing to live a life which you call it as normal i.e. Marrying a opposite gender. But I don’t want to spoil a woman life for the sake of my selfishness and society pressure. I’m requesting you to kindly understand this as you are also a woman. ONE CANNOT BE A GAY / LESBIAN JUST BY THEIR WISH OR CHOICE.

  3. Minto Sarkar

    I respect your courage, determination and love.
    Be good forever Wish this.

  4. Sarabjeet Kaur

    Hey grinders, you got that STD and HIV too?? I doubt you clean it regularly after an all-night! And does this make you really happy or just gay?! Wonder what you do about the smell BTW, I mean its gotta be horrendous and when people don’t clean. But grind away to glory, after all you have your mom’s basement to party.

    • Ms. Kaur,
      Homophobia cannot be condoned. And your years of education that have helped you articulate your homophobic thoughts hasn’t been able to give you enough empathy – and I feel sorry for you and your self-blinding hate.
      Love,
      A very gay,
      RK

      • Sarabjeet Kaur

        Who told you I’m edjumacated??? I had zero years of ejucation, you got that, ZERO!!! you happy now?!! Or, maybe you gayeee now, LOL?!? And its Mrs. Kaur not Ms. or Miss or whatever. No need to feel sorry, I don’t feel sorry for your kind either. Did you know there are many caves and rocks in the world so as long as your world doesn’t intersect mine, its fine.

        • Sarabjeet Kaur

          I actually retract my atrocious hate filled comments. I apologize for being an insufferable poor excuse for a human being. Please excuse my awful, troll behavior.

          • I actually hate my man chest, and my utter lack of virility despite having a beard and all. My mom didn’t hug me enough so I grew up hating my sis and her umpteen boyfriends and as a teen I was bullied because I couldn’t. I know god is watching me when I’m with my husband in the closet and then I wonder what kind of a man I am. And I also know he’s got a special place called hell for my kind but we will decorate it with rainbows and glitter and make it real pretty. We are all so proud of ourselves, so we march every year, trying to spread our gaiety around. I really hope this cheers you up, my dear husband.

    • Are you for real, MRS. Kaur….which stone have you been hiding under? Or was it in one of the caves u mentioned?
      Being gay is not an illness… it’s just being as normal as the so-called normal people are. U are so prejudiced and narrow minded, it amazes me. And yes, I pity you and the future generations u will help procreate.
      All the best to u ,
      A very proud mom of a ‘gay’ son.

      P.s. i forgot it is only the so-called normal people who think relationships and marriage are all about sex….the ‘gay’ brigade are so much more mature and above all this, they lead much more meaningful lives. So u can take ur prejudice and ‘grind’ it up where d sun don’t cast shadows.

    • Premanand S

      Madam.. I’m gay by birth not by my choice. I’m also willing to live a life which you call it as normal i.e. Marrying a opposite gender. But I don’t want to spoil a woman life for the sake of my selfishness and society pressure. I’m requesting you to kindly understand this as you are also a woman. ONE CANNOT BE A GAY / LESBIAN JUST BY THEIR WISH OR CHOICE.

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