Queer unions are those relationships outside of the bounds of marriage. Any relationship that does not follow either the legal or moral framework of marriage could be termed as a union or a partnership. A partnership could be monogamous, polygamous, fluid or exclusive. The definition of it is broad. A marriage however expects monogamy and exclusivity. For many queer lives, a partnership is all that is possible and for others it is all they want.
Queer marriages that follow a heteronormative narrative of a male person marrying a female person is recognised by law. This means that a transman can legally marry a transwoman. However, as of 2022, same-sex marriage is not recognised in India. For some queer couples, marriage is a gateway to other opportunities. It provides greater social acceptance, access to financial aid such as loans and a certain amount of social safety. Guarantees of such benefits are not legally available to queer people in India.
Legal opportunities aside, it is important to note that, opinions on being in a queer partnership versus a queer marriage are varied and nuanced. Therefore, a general statement on the matter would be incomplete. In some instances, legal backing of queer relationships doesn’t seem to be the answer. As specified by Maya Sharma in the essay “Coupling,” “Legal rights always come at a price. They don’t leave anything ambiguous, and queer lives are ambiguous.”