The US legalized same-sex marriage on 26th June 2015. It was a time for celebration for American people across the US. This was a step forward for freedom. The world was happy for American LGBT community and we saw a lot of support from people across the world. Minutes later Facebook introduced a tool which lets you put a rainbow filter on your Display Picture. And then the pretenders came out.
Now I’m not saying that all of those who did it were pretenders. There were some people who genuinely care about the issue and are doing something about it. If you care about the issue of LGBT rights, good for you, but changing your DP isn’t going to change anything in your own country, especially a country like India.
Now I am an Individual rights supporter and that includes all human beings regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or any other characterization. But I didn’t change my DP. Here’s why:
India still has a law that criminalizes same-sex act. Changing your DP to a rainbow colour will not affect that. Nobody looks at a Rainbow DP and suddenly realizes that Gay people are human too. Heck, conservatives who think sex itself as a taboo are dime a dozen in even urban areas. Most of these traditionalists however are in the rural areas where there is limited access to internet, if any. Rarely will anyone you have as a friend on Facebook not know your stance. There is no point in changing your DP to show your support. We are not the US where almost everyone, from high school kids to grandmothers, is on social media.
It’s not the first time!
US is not the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Netherland did it 14 years ago. Since then around 17 countries have recognized same-sex marriage legally. The US falls at number 18. I have yet to see these rainbow DP supporters even mention anything about any of these countries. I don’t know why when US did it it suddenly became the centre of media attention. Maybe the US has a charm of its own. Maybe their media just likes to play it big.
India didn’t have anything to do with it!
There was nothing that the people of India did that made any difference to the passing of the law in the US. There’s no mass movement in India that is demanding anything in the line of amending the ignorant section 377 to exclude anything between consenting adults. Those who think changing their DP is going to do anything to further the cause of LGBT rights in India are ignorant and deluded. I didn’t do it because I do not feel like I have contributed to the cause and don’t want any false credit for it.
That said; there is a need for genuine LGBT support in India. There needs to be a cultural shift from the dogmatic and religious views on morality to a more rational and logical view. Only then can we muster enough people to make changes to our laws. Currently the courts and the politicians are scared of the religious dogmatists and their majority. We need to change that.