Meet Urvi Shah, A Straight Woman Helping Homosexuals Find Life Partners Through Her Matrimonial Website
- IWB Post
- July 11, 2018
Even if same-sex marriage is considered a crime in many countries including India, nobody could stop Urvi Shah from launching a gay matrimonial website and spread the love. In 2015, this 24-year-old girl from Ahmedabad developed a website while she was in Chicago to normalize homosexuality and help homosexuals find the right match for themselves. Today, she’s moved the business to Sikandrabad, India, serving people from more than 24 countries.
Remembering the day she came up with the idea, she says, “When I was in college at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, we were asked to build a business project about eliminating a social issue. Some seniors were choosing women empowerment, education and other things happening in the country. I didn’t want to copy anyone. I wanted to do something interesting that no one had done before. The LGBTQ subject is still taboo in Indian society. People don’t want to talk about it. A lot of people don’t even know homosexual people exist in the country, so I decided to focus on the LGBTQ community.”
To make her dream a reality, she did intensive research and met many gay people to gain insights from within the community. “I asked them what issues they face in their lives from the beginning of their journey ― about being confused about their sexuality, telling their parents, if their parents accepted them, things like that,” recalls Urvi. That’s when she realized that there isn’t any website that caters to the LGBTQ+ community specifically.
Funny, but her parents were shocked when they first heard the stories of homosexual people from her. Urvi shares, “When I told my parents I wanted to work for the LGBTQ community, they asked me what that was. When I told them, my dad said he didn’t know gay people existed in India. My parents had never met anyone gay, and even if they had, no one had disclosed their sexuality in front of my parents. So I understood my parents were not educated about it. I made them watch some videos and movies, and slowly they started understanding the concept, but because my family lives in the same city as I did, which is very orthodox, they asked me to not start here and not to tell my family members what I do for work.”
Unfortunately, making the life easier for the LGBTQ+ community has put her life on stake. Because of the nature of her job, she often receives threats from people who consider same-sex marriage an offense. “People think it is typically illegal and unethical. Some are worried that since I work in this community, there won’t be any guys who will marry me,” she states. But in spite of all the opposition, her parents have proven to be her biggest support.
She concludes by saying, “I have seen families who are not ready to accept their child. I consult with them, but they fail because they are not ready to understand or willing to educate themselves. It’s very disappointing, but we have a lot of success stories. If 99 percent of people are happy and 1 percent are disappointed, I understand. I’m not here to change the world and educate the world. I am just here to spread happiness among the people. I understand my parents’ generation will not change their mentality, but the coming generation is definitely going to change.”