Straight from the heart: 'Gay for a Day' campaign goes viral

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 13 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Celebrity hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani was ill at ease the whole of Wednesday after the SC judgement re-criminalising homosexuality. "As a woman in India today, you have to face so much injustice. This verdict was the last straw," says Bhavnani, part of what she calls the Aam Aurat Party. Late night, she decided she had to fight back, so she came out as queer and posted a selfie of her kissing her friend, musician Suman Sridhar. "My initial plan was to make out in front of every police station nearby, shouting, 'Arrest me, I'm a criminal.' I settled on posting the picture on Facebook."

The response was immediate, with 400 likes for the picture and friends applauding her for her courage. "I'm not embarrassed of who I am, so why should I let a verdict affect it? My mother is supportive and if my friends accept me as I am, I know they are real friends," says Bhavnani, whose coming out soon went viral.

Around the same time, Delhi resident Tanmay Sahay decided to show solidarity with his gay friends. A married man, Sahay posted a photo of him kissing a male friend and hash-tagged it #Gayforaday. Seeing the support of friends and family, he started an event page on FB kicking off the 'Gay for a Day' campaign, which invited people to post photographs of them kissing a friend of the same gender. The campaign went viral within hours, with over 2,000 people signing up and hundreds uploading photographs of them kissing friends.

"I'm not a gay rights activist, but I'm a gay rights supporter. I wanted to let my family and friends, who are part of the LGBT community, know I support their right to sexual freedom. I did this because I believe people reserve the right to choose their partner," Sahay told TOI. Within a day, the movement travelled across India and the world. "We've received messages from Pakistan, UAE, Germany, UK, USA... the list is endless," says Sahay.

One message reads, "Stop us if u can. We support our friends," while another message by a user says, "In unconditional support of the LGBT community."

According to Bhavnani, the online campaigns from straight allies to support LGBT families and friends have been heartening.

Actor Bhushan Kulkarni, who is acting in a gay-themed play Dushyantpriya, decided to change his profile photo to black to protest the court verdict. "Our forefathers fought for the country's freedom. We will fight for ours," he said.

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