Last week, the US legalized gay marriage. This means that soon enough, when people refer to marriage, they will refrain from classifying it by the sexes of the parties getting married and the nature of their relationship. After all, no one says a country finds straight marriage legal.
While this was one step forward for humanity, the decision of US courts also resulted in a mass change of profile pictures. A lot of people changed their profile pictures to a rainbow edition which consisted of the colors of the LGBT flag. While certain posts suggested that profile pictures were changed by some without knowledge or understanding of the reason, many people seemed to understand what they were standing up for.
It was well and good that people, even in Sri Lanka, were fighting for equality. However, it also made one question what lay at the end of the rainbow. The stories say that a pot of gold can be found if you travel right to the end. A pot of gold may be reason enough to follow a rainbow to the very end but isn’t equality a better reason?
It’s been a week since profile pictures were changed. Some changed them back to the less colorful originals a few days later. Little by little, there’ll be fewer rainbow-like profile pictures. People will slowly forget their battles for equality and go back to their mundane lives where, as long as it doesn’t directly affect them, the fight for the rights of the LGBT community will be postponed or pushed to a dark corner of their minds.
This is exactly what shouldn’t happen. We, Sri Lankans, have decided to fight for equal rights. However, we can’t limit our efforts to a mere change of profile picture. We need to go beyond this and we need to go further.
And yet, there’s a reason to be sad too. While many were changing their profile pictures, the good old homophobes thought there was no better time than now to come out of the closet. Without any shame at all, people spoke about why homosexuality was a sin and how gay marriage should never be legalized. These posts made us all realize that even though the day homosexuality is no longer criminalized in Sri Lanka seemed not that far away, there will always be a significant number of people who doesn’t want society to move forward. What do we do to such people? Ignore them and let homophobia continue?
You can decide what you do during your journey to the end of the rainbow. How you travel to the end of the rainbow is also totally up to you. What’s important is that we do travel to the end, because at the end, we will find equality.