This Valentine’s Day, an Ode to Those Who Truly Moved Love Forward
Love without labels
This Valentine’s Day is the first one after Section 377 was decriminalised last year, which is what makes it significant. For the first time, members from the LGBTQI+ community will be able to celebrate their love freely and openly without any fear and labels. To make this occasion all the more significant, Uber is launching a movement called #LoveMovesForward to give love a new symbol – the Pride Heart emoji. They are also starting a petition to make this emoji official.
We spoke to some powerful voices from the LGBTQI+ community to understand why this year’s Valentine’s Day is truly special and what the ‘Pride Heart’ means to them.
Voices That Matter
Harish Iyer, who is an equal rights activist and one of the most vociferous campaigners against section 377, says, “Section 377 is a draconian law that empowered the average bully and your unfriendly neighbourhood homophobe. The extortion cases were on a rise and familial acceptance was at an all time low. No parent wanted their child to be arrested for who they love, so their prejudice, many a time was born out of fear for the well-being of their child. This Valentine's Day is different. Now love will be celebrated in all forms, and the veil of prejudice would be replaced by a stylish rainbow shawl.”
Speaking about #LoveMovesForward, Iyer says, “ I am grateful to Uber for leading the way and doing this proactively. It is time that all brands realise that diversity and equality help everybody, but most importantly they help business. They have not just internalised their love, they are externalising it with pride.”
Queer book blogger Vivek Tejuja is looking forward to 14 Feb. He says, “I think that given this is the first free Valentine’s Day the queer community will celebrate. It is extremely significant and will help break down some walls if not many. The very idea of 377 not looming large means the world to us. The whole struggle can be summarised as: Love is genderless.”
Tejuja is all praises for the emoji. “It’s very heartening to see an organisation take this step, because it’s only when more such corporates come out and show solidarity will things normalise. I think this will go a long way in making people look at the queer community as regular folks and will empower us to express freely. So this emoji is needed for sure and will be just one step amongst the many taken,” he says.
Transgender activist and founder of India’s first transgender modeling agency, Rudrani Chettri says, “Initiatives like these that brands undertake are awesome. Being a part of this community, I can identify with it on an emotional level. Making the Pride Heart emoji official is a progressive step and will make a strong statement to everyone out there.”
Love Is Love
Giving the Pride Heart emoji an official identity is a great step towards inclusion of a community that was so far marginalised, and what better time to do this than Valentine’s Day.
Click here to sign the petition and show your support.
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