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No laughing matter, this

Post cricketer Chris Gayle’s hurricane 175 off 66 balls for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), a slew of Chris Gayle jokes popped up on various social networking sites.

One so-called joke though was in poor taste and had the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community fuming and demanding an apology from the site, which posted it as a humorous quip. The joke read, ‘when one man rapes another man he’s gay, but when one man rapes 11 men, he’s GAYle’.

As the joke went viral, the LGBT community expressed its displeasure and got it removed from one of the pages of Facebook. It is time we became sensitive to issues of the gay community and the horrors of sexual abuse as well.

It is evident that whoever thought of this ‘joke’ has not thought that rape, whether it happens to a man or woman, remains a violation and needs to be categorically condemned. Today, as rape cases spark an inferno in our nation, jokes like these prove that it is not laws but mindsets that need to be changed.

The last thing we need today is such flippancy on a matter of gravitas and tremendous concern.

Any person, regardless of sexual orientation, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. Such ‘jokes’ smack of immaturity, especially at a time when the High Court in India has read down Section 377 (which criminalised consensual sex between same sex adults). Humour should not reinforce such sick stereotypes. We’re all for laughter, provided it is for the right reasons.  

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