Days after a long-running Indonesian television comedy aired last month, its producers got a letter from the broadcast commission warning that a male character in the show was "dressed and behaving like a woman" and could violate broadcasting standards. "We evaluated the show...we immediately reminded our staff to be careful because we are minimizing LGBT content on our network," said Anita Wulandari Prasojo, head of marketing and public relations at Trans7, the private television station that aired the show "Opera van Java" last month. She may have to do more than that in the future. Indonesia's parliament is considering national legislation that would ban lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) content from TV screens by the end of the year.
Yesterday, phones lit up with breaking news alerts when Maxim Lapunov, a gay Russian man, became the first to speak publicly about his detention in Chechnya's anti-LGBTQ crackdown earlier this year. Maybe you read the details of Lapunov's story—about the 12 days over which he said he was beaten and tortured by police looking to extract a confession that he was gay. Maybe you didn't. Today, dismissing news notifications is almost second nature. But if you can harness the whims of social media, can you overcome the inertia that often accompanies such issues, and motivate people to stop double-tapping and start marching? That's the impetus behind Voices 4 Chechnya, an activist organization that spearheaded a march this Saturday from New York City's Stonewall National Monument to Trump Tower, at United Nations Plaza.