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Why LBB Is Proud To Follow Every Rainbow

Aditi posted on 01 July

Amidst the glow of a million rainbows that washed over our Facebook feed on June 26th, we couldn’t help notice the dampers. The more-than-infrequent rants coming from people enraged that India was celebrating freedom in a land far away. The angst coming from a feeling of mindlessness when faced with the most horrific reality of ‘aping the West.’

Oh boy. Are we in trouble, or what?

For those readers who detoxed from social media over the weekend, here’s what it’s all about.

June 26th. What a day. A landmark turn of law {yes, I am aware in the U.S.} meant that an estimated 9,083,558 citizens of another land were able, should they choose, to seek the fulfilment and sanctity of holy matrimony for themselves. The ever-quick-to-respond Facebook provided an easy tool to express solidarity. For a day, we saw the world with rainbow-coloured glasses.

People closer to home have taken contention to the fact that the celebration of this moment has not been constrained by geography. The argument goes, what’s to celebrate if this is happening anywhere outside of here? What, it seems, is the point of celebrating love unless it’s Indian love?

Here’s the point, if you ask us. Here’s the beauty of social media when it comes to uniting us in sentiment. On a dark December day in 2014, profile pictures went black to express the unspeakable sorrow millions felt for school-going children killed in Pakistan. In January 2015, we hashtagged that we were Charlie. Not because it was a social media trend but because, quite simply, we felt sad. We felt sad and we didn’t know how else to say it. We felt sad because that 9/11, that Kenyan mall shootout, that bloody day in Peshawar was a bad day for humankind.

June 26th, quite simply, was a good day for humankind. And for that, we should be happy.

Let’s not forget too, that this expression of joy and solidarity, is after all just a Facebook profile picture. A really harmless expression when you think about it. Facebook profile pictures are changed more frequently per millisecond than the Indian legal system changes laws every century.

What we’re dealing with here is not a massive movement of money, skewed to a singular cause. The Ice Bucket Challenge from July last year raised funds to the tune of $100 million to $3 billion towards research and development of treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. {Yeah, that’s what it was about.} While the overwhelming online support it received was truly impressive, many NGOs have questioned the disproportionate allocation of charitable money towards a relatively rare {thankfully!} problem.

Let us also be clear about this. We do not believe that one cause is lesser or greater than another. Some people choose to save dolphins, some hug a tree, some wear red noses for Comic Relief to raise awareness about children living in poverty. Each cause is worthy. Each of us caring about a different something is what keeps the world turning. We’re not considering a Maslowian filter of determining which needs supersede others. But we’re looking at sheer numbers, and while we’re genuinely happy about the possibility of a better future for the estimated 30,000 people in the U.S. affected by ALS, we’re also happy for the 9 million plus in the same nation who have the privilege of stomping out of their homes after a fight and always returning, because marriage means something to them. We’re happy for the children of those marriages who, in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy {what a guy!}, don’t suffer from feeling that their families are somehow lesser.

Mr. Obama boldly stated that love is love. Are we forgetting that humanity is humanity?

{By this we don’t mean that you have to understand or support homosexuality. If you don’t, God knows that you’re entitled to your opinion.}

We understand that this law only affects the U.S. of A. We too are upset by the knowledge that our government proactively regressed by overturning #377. We too are waiting for a day when that no longer exists.

In the meanwhile, what good can come of a landmark U.S. law? Consider this. This piece published by the Atlantic postulates about the role of popular culture in shaping popular sentiment. For all the people who died a little at the final episode of Game of Thrones’ last season, let’s not deny the pervasiveness of American media in our collective consciousness.

We know that change won’t come in a day. Rosa Parks only refused to change a seat in a bus. But there’s a change in vocabulary. And that’s a start. We’ll wait for the time that this conversation is no longer relevant. We’ll smile wryly when our kids interrogate us on how it was ever possible for the world to disallow gay marriage. We weren’t there in November 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell. We didn’t make it earlier that June when public sentiment outpoured at Tiananmen Square. But when our children of a hopefully free world ask us where we were in June 2015 when an influential law was passed in support of same-sex equality, we’ll be proud to say we were right here in Delhi, liking the heck out of every rainbow coloured photo on every screen around us.

Editor’s Note: An estimated 26 million profile pictures went rainbow in the last 5 days. Intentional or accidental, Little Black Book is proud to support each one of them. Unintended support in India only goes to prove that lack of awareness continues to remain squarely our problem.