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The Happy And Gay Hotelier Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group shares his story with pride

By Punita Sabharwal

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While studying at St Columbus, Delhi — an all boys' Catholic school — Keshav, who had a flair for drama, used to love cross dressing. Keshav was always surrounded by powerful women while growing up, whether it was his mother or three sisters. Inspired by them, he was always keen to portray the role of the opposite sex. He managed to navigate through the school days even though some boys used to bully Keshav as he seemed different to them.

When Keshav went to the University of Warrick that's when openness towards topics like sexuality started. "Being gay came naturally to me as I was born with it," says Keshav. Coming from a family of hoteliers, which ran the Lalit Hotels, he started questioning himself whether he should confess to his family and make life simpler for everyone. As destiny had it, he went on to study at the King's College, London for master's degree. That's when Keshav decided to come out in open before the pressure starts building up for anything later. In Keshav's words, "I am glad I told my parents at that time as my father passed away a year later. If I had not done that I would have lived in that guilt my entire life. He would have never known about my sexuality."

As protective parents they let him do whatever he wanted to. About the biggest fears his parents had, Keshav says, "Their biggest concern at that time was how they are going to protect me from the world and the police. At the same time, they knew that I had been strong enough to handle it for all those 21 years."

Owing to the Indian legislation, Keshav started living his sexually active years in the UK. When Keshav's father passed away he had to return home to support his mother with the family business. While Keshav was still pursuing his second master's degree, the whole sexuality quotient went to the backburner, since it was all about business at that point in time. In 2011, Keshav opened Kitty Su, a queer-friendly night club. That's when he found true acceptance. Kitty Su had become a movement giving a form of selfexpression to Keshav. In 2013, when Keshav witnessed the return of the awful judgment he went on an overdrive with Kitty Su — it reached Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, and Chandigarh. "When they reversed the judgment saying they we are too minuscule a minority that's when I said hello I am here," he recalls.

Keshav has been in a relationship with his French partner Cyril Feuillebois for the past 10 years. He shares that more than 10 people from LGBTQ community are part of his team at the Lalit Group. He also plans to setup the Keshav Suri Foundation, which will be launched on October 13 and would work with It Gets Better project — a social media platform where the community shares its stories. He will also partner with FICCI to make sure Corporate India also accepts the LGBTQ.

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur India


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