Time and again, Facebook users prove that the social networking website is used not merely to socialise, but to also express solidarity for a cause. One may recall that quite a few Facebook users changed their profile pictures to a plain black photo to pay homage to the brave heart who lost her life in the Delhi gang rape incident last year.
A large number of users from Tamil Nadu changed their pictures to that of actor Kamal Haasan with a slogan, ‘I support Kamal Haasan’, when the actor was fighting to bring his pet project, Vishwaroopam, to the theatres.
Many Facebook users have now joined hands to protest against the Supreme Court’s verdict on criminalising gay sex. The campaign ‘Gay for a day’ has gone viral and users have changed their profile pictures to that of their photo in which they share a peck with a same sex friend or a picture of themselves with their friends from the same gender to support LGBTs and to voice their views against the verdict that has created quite a stir.
City-based lawyer and feminist Kirthi Jayakumar has changed her profile picture to a photo that she took with her best friend, Natasha Jolly. Kirthi is a strong supporter of free will and human rights.
“If a man loves a man, or a woman a woman, what’s wrong about it? I find it ironic that in the very country whose religious philosophy advocates that the soul has no gender and sex, in the very country that has temples with sculptures of homosexuals, in the very country that has a judiciary famed for its judicial activism (sometimes even questioned for overreach!), we have regressed to the dark ages,” she observes.
Kirthi believes that changing her profile picture on Facebook to one of her hugging her best friend might not change the law, “But it certainly shows the policy makers that there are so many of us who do not oppose homosexuality,” she points out.
“This is one of the ways of telling the world that we strongly denounce the judgment on Section 377 and that the courts cannot be legislating love,” says Meena Kandasamy, poet, writer and activist. But Meena also observes that merely changing the Facebook profile picture will not change the virulent homophobia that seems to characterise some sections of the judiciary.
She says, “But I’m an active FB user with a significant follower base. I feel that this change in my profile picture is a way for me to tell the larger world that I love whom I want to love, and sorry Supreme Court, you cannot be getting into my private life.”
Nivetha Vincent and Chelsea Croker, college students in the city, have also jumped on the bandwagon and changed their profile pictures. “We were shocked by the verdict and this is a small gesture to prove that we support LGBTs,” says Nivetha.
‘Straight but not narrow’ is another campaign on the lines of ‘Gay for a day’ which is also being widely circulated on the Internet. Users use one of the hashtags to record their support. ‘Straight but not narrow’ (SBNN) is an organisation in the US that helps young adults understand their LGBT peers. “Small gestures, like changing one’s profile picture on Facebook, with the hash tag ‘Straight but not narrow’, which is slowly picking up in India, will certainly help people be themselves,” says Chelsea....