QUEEN’S ROAD: In a moment of massive vindication for the American gay rights movement, the Supreme Court legalised same sex marriages in all 50 states of the USA last Friday. The victory cheers echoed across the world, as the social media reverberated with expressions of collective joy.
And why wouldn’t they? This is a big deal. America is an influential country and the verdict is a big, bold step in the right direction. This would set an example for smaller countries and encourage them to recognise and protect the interests of the LGBTQ community.
To mark the happy occasion, Facebook came up with a rainbow filter application that allows users to add a multi-coloured screen to their display pictures. Over the weekend, people across the world added the filter to their pictures, expressing their joy and support for the verdict. Blogs, pictures and opinions were posted and shared under the hashtag #lovewins across various platforms on the Internet.
On the surface, it seemed as if the world had come together to celebrate a revolutionary development. But one didn’t have to look too hard to find rants from people who were disgusted by the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
Even those in favour of the decision had an issue with Indians rejoicing about it because our country still has a long way to go in that direction. People who had rainbow-filtered profile pictures reportedly got calls from concerned family members who thought they were coming out of the closet themselves. And others were laughed at for being useless Internet activists or ‘click-tivists’.
Memes mushroomed across the Internet, mocking Indians who favoured the legalisation. One particular meme said, “Pehle apni marzi se shaadi karke dikhao (See if you can marry someone of your choice first!).”
Their argument is not baseless. We are nowhere close to America when it comes to the gay rights movement or even human rights for that matter. Marital rape is still legal here and women are constantly dehumanised by politicians in power. The ruling BJP government recently called homosexuality a genetic disorder.
So, does it look like Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code will be scrapped anytime soon? No. Should we keep fighting anyway? Absolutely. And the fact that our American counterparts won the battle is something we can be happy about.
As blogger and copy editor Priyanka Victor wrote on Facebook, “We don’t think that changing our profile pictures will change anything. But we will wax rhetoric about #lovewins because we are proud, very proud because we are part of that global community which experienced a taste of true freedom and equality. But we will still continue fighting #equalrights because we believe in it with far more feeling and conviction than just the energy and brain cells required to put up a status on Facebook.”