On Friday June 26, it was announced by the United States Supreme Court that same-sex marriage was legally recognised across all 50 states.
Men and women across America and the world — gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual and otherwise — gathered to celebrate the momentous occasion. They took to the streets to proudly or supportively wave their rainbow-coloured flags or they celebrated from home while sitting on their couches with their loved ones, quietly wondering why it took so bloody long to reach this legal and symbolic victory.
I’m not the only one who’s thought in the lead-up to this landmark event that future generations would look back at the rights of the LGBTQI community across the world and wonder how people got away with such unabashed discrimination for so long.
On the morning of the United States Supreme Court ruling, I woke up, logged into my social media pages and was gratefully overwhelmed by the number of people who had changed their profiles to include the pride flag. Granted, I do have an amazing group of culturally aware and diverse friends who are pretty awesome on all accounts, but that constant stream of rainbow-coloured faces really inspired a sense of pride — in the LGBTQI community for fighting to see this day come, but also just in my fellow human beings as a whole.
But aside from being a nice gesture that is giving people the warm-fuzzies, does creating a rainbow Facebook profile picture really make a difference? Of course it does. It’s the virtual equivalent of walking down the street during Pride and waving a rainbow flag about. It’s the virtual way you communicate with your friends, your coworkers and your family that you recognise, acknowledge and respect a person’s right to marriage, regardless of their sexual preference. It continues to be important to show our support for people who still don’t have the luxury of being free to love who they want with legal recognition and equal rights, without ridicule, discrimination and, worse, being threatened with death.
But beyond showing support for your LGBTQI compadres, encouraging social change and inspiring inclusive attitudes to social issues, what else is your profile communicating? It’s influencing your community and communicating what is important to you. You might even be an influencer and, as a result, other people might also want to share their values and beliefs with their own communities, too. Then the ball keeps on rolling and that big virtual rainbow just keeps getting bigger.
There’s also been talk that Facebook is actually gathering information through the use of these rainbow profiles. But the spokespeople from the social media giant have denied those claims, telling Mashable: “This was not an experiment or test, but rather something that enables people to show their support of the LGBTQ community on Facebook. “We aren’t going to use this as a way to target ads and the point of this tool is not to get information about people.”
Even if it is a Facebook experiment, it’s one that I don’t mind being a part of if it means showing my support for equality, marriage or otherwise.
Have you shared your pride on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.