How many times in grapevine conversation have you heard the words, ‘that’s gay dude’? Chances are, very frequently. But, how many times in serious conversation have you heard the phrase ‘come out of the closet’? Chances are, very rarely. We might brag about equality and standing up for what is right, however, talking about LGBTs and sexual preferences in daily life for the masses still remains a taboo far bigger than any rage in India, including Bollywood and Cricket. In a very intrinsic manner, these stereotypes continue to be a part and parcel of our thoughts and conversations.
When Tim Cook, CEO of one of the largest IT companies in the world, decided to publicly acknowledge his sexual preferences, the reactions were varied. In his article in the Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook clearly pointed out his reasons for parting with his privacy and declaring to the world, with all the truth of the written word, that he is proudly gay. While he may have come out of the closet in his personal and professional circles ages ago, for the rest of the world it was stirring.
His reasons were extremely noble. He wanted to inspire millions of other members of the gay community to have the audacity to ask for equality. His idea was to help people seriously come out of the closet, even though the price he had to pay for it was his privacy. But the question is, did he?
In India, where same sex relationships are still invalid, both legally and (most often) socially, it created a rage. There was a minor section of the society that expressed its pride and respect towards the CEO of the company, whose gadgets they adore flaunting off. However, there was also an extremist minority that called the move ‘irresponsible’ and ‘wrongly influencing’, for reasons only they can fathom.
The general majority though, lacked a clear viewpoint. For them, this was just another piece of news that they could insensitively turn into humour. WhatsApp started flooding with gay jokes aimed at Apple and Cook. People took extreme pride in forwarding messages and tweeting things like ‘The whole world prefers Apple. But the CEO of Apple prefers bananas’. To blatantly blurt it out, it was cheap and sleazy.
To add to it, the recent Bendgate issue with iPhone 6 took a whole new lowly meaning. The insensitivity of a lot of minds justified the bending problem with the newly launched iPhone 6, as a consequence of Cook’s ‘bent’ sexuality. So the question then comes up again, did Cook help those millions to walk out freely as gay human beings? Or was it just wasted effort?
What it seems to be is nothing more than a shameful reality check. Ironically, what was aimed at being inspiring backfired and was turned sordidly into inconsiderate comedy. It shamefully screams the exact opposite of what it was supposed to. The only message it sends to the Indian LGBT communities is to go away, push themselves further into those closets and lock them up tightly, while the rest of us can laugh our hearts out at how gay they are.