Why did I use a Rainbow Filter Display on Facebook?

Ever since the judgement of the US Supreme Court came out legalizing the same-sex marriage, there is an outnumbered reaction on social media sites regarding Facebook display pictures and it exactly went viral when people like me started using the celebrate pride link created by Facebook which can transform the display picture into rainbow filter. Initially, the change of DP on FB might be to show some solidarity to the victory of love over partner preference. So, I also chose to use the celebrate pride link to change the colour of my DP only to show support and solidarity. First thing came in my mind while changing the DP was that, may be it can pressurize the society and the government to change their perceptions towards the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people and it is the right time to hit the iron hard.

                                                                            Celebration of Pride

But soon after the things went wrong. People started using the celebrate pride link as a fun-sharing tool. Some people even do not know the actual meaning of the colour. They just used the link out of bound and by just following the trend on FB. No one knows as to when the trend becomes a troll. It is unfortunate from the side of FB profile owner to use such celebrate pride link without having the context. So, I (and many people like me) felt very dishearten as I also have chosen to filter my DP. Moreover, there was a parallel troll on the social-media sites questioning the credentials of those used the translucent display. The DP people were criticized by the parallel troll by questioning their identity of being ‘straight’ (mostly). And other objections were like: “those using rainbow filter to celebrate pride can marry as per their wish?” “Those using celebrate pride can support their own offspring/peer in public if they are homosexuals?” etc. kinds of questions.

Firstly I can submit it openly that I will have no problem if any of my known person is homosexual. May be it is your fear that you want it to be tested on others. It may be possible that you are not comfortable with the LGBTQ people, so you are engaged in criticizing others. However, the issue is not about being homosexual or heterosexual, it is all about love and choosing partner as far as my understanding is concerned. To support a gay or a lesbian, you have to give certificate that you are alike, the equation is not like that. If the case is so, then no feminist could have been a person other than a female, no human beings would have been allowed to fight for the rights of animals (e.g.; PETA), no criminals would have been represented at the court other than the criminal himself/herself.

There are several activists in India and the world who are by no means directly associated with the cause, or victims to be more specific, but are fighting for others’ rights. Amartya Sen is the most leading voice in today’s world, but can you give me any example of any human rights issues, which he addresses, in which he was victimized? Teesta Setlavad has continuously been fighting to deliver justice to the 2002 Godhra riot victims though she was not the immediate victim. Arundhati Roy is the champion of human rights activism, a dalit activist (though many dalit activists had questioned her Brahminic origin) for sure, but she is not a dalit. Rohini Salian is fighting to deliver justice to the Malegaon blast accused but she has no direct link to the case as a victim as of now.

                                                                                Celebrating Pride

Are not all these blame shifting a game to divert from the main point? In this particular case, they question the identity of the people who used the rainbow filter. There have been some other people who would sympathize the victim of any riot, like the Muzaffernar one. May I have the liberty to question your credential in this incident? Were you the immediate victim? Why did you pour into the protest asking to deliver justice to the victims of Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh? It should have been the fight of the Muzaffarnagar people only, and not yours. When the nation came out in the road to protest Jyoti’s brutal rape and murder in New Delhi, some people criticized the media of being hyperactive on a single case. The issue was not being active or hyperactive, the issue was to have a time when you could hit the iron hard. That was not the first case of rape, nor was it the last one. People got frustrated by the repeated incidents and that forced them to step out from their home. Thousands of people were protesting, how many of them were the direct victim? Or how many people were there who have some relatives who were the immediate victim? So, it was not about identity and relationship with the victim but about the cause. The cause of the LGBTQ people compelled me to change the colour of my DP to register protest.

Meanwhile, amidst this troll, I just recalled Joseph Nye’s concept of ‘soft power’ or the ‘cultural power’ which he defines as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments”. Some people may argue that again the US showed its cultural hegemony to the world by making people all over the world out of bound to celebrate the pride. To some extent, it is true but we should take it as an opportunity to initiate a protest to demand the decriminalization of homosexual relationship in India. As people  down in India is fighting to get a verdict which can decriminalize the homosexual relationship, they found it as a tool to pressurize the society and the government but they ended up by having a Pandora box, as people started using the rainbow filter colour as a fun-sharing tool.

At the end of this debate, I have my submission that I may go subjective in this article while arguing but I could end up by suggesting that it is the right time for the people of India to carry this momentum forward to force the Parliament to enact a law which could decriminalize the homosexual relationship. It is the time to tear Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which states homosexual relationship is unnatural by saying, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with impris­onment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section”. The nation got a bill passed aftermath the New Delhi gang-rape, so why not now? It will be better to fight for the LGBTQ people rather than deciding the ‘identity’ of the people who used the celebrate pride link on FB.

N.B: I oppose the sexual relationship of human beings with animals.

By Biswanath. He can be reached at @modontanti

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About Biswanath Saha

Biswanath is a Senior Research Fellow at Institute of Development Studies Kolkata. He loves to engage himself into research in the broad areas of international politics, culture and diplomacy.

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