In a powerful new video, several LGBT Indians speak out about about the hateful and homophobic comments they face while using social media.
Produced by the creators of the LGBT-focused app Delta, the #StrongestTogether video highlights the personal stories users say they face from friends and strangers alike. A trans woman teared up as she reads a message saying that her dead father would be ashamed of her and a gay man shared that he was accused of being a pedophile and told that he deserved to lose his job.
Stories like these are far from rare in India. Surveys show that more than half of LGBTQIA (which is defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual) Indians have experienced online harassment or bullying. Delta’s creator told the Times of India that those stats inspired his company to create the #StrongestTogether campaign last month.
“We are inundated with hundreds of messages at Delta every day from people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum (& allies!) who reach out to us for guidance, counseling and often just to vent in a judgment-free zone,” developer Ishaan Sethi told the Times of India. “A majority of these people receive awful hate messages from others who are comfortable harassing people from behind their screens. As an LGBTQ+ business that operates in the online arena, we felt this is something we really should take up.”
While Delta bills itself as India’s first LGBT dating app, Sethi has stressed that his company is also focused on building a place where LGBT Indians can build a community and talk about their lives in a judgment-free zone. The company has also sponsored events and built partnerships with brands across India so that users can easily find services that provide a friendly environment.
In an interview with Your Story, Sethi noted that the app sometimes felt like it was more than just a job. “When you realize that the work you do is making a very real and positive impact in the lives of others, every challenge you face feels entirely worth it,” he noted. “Many users come from small towns and cities; people who previously had no one to interact with or reach out to are now finding their voice.”