Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's labelling of homosexuality as 'unnatural' and a 'disease' has shaken the virtual world.
Pages of the severe criticism made following Azad's remarks on Monday at the National Convention of Zila Parishad, Chairpersons & Mayors on HIV/AIDS have been put up on social networking sites such as Facebook and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter.
More than 300 members joined a ‘Get well soon!! To Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad' page created on Facebook by three friends, Elakshi Kumar, Shalini Krishan and Rituparna Borah (professionals in their 20s) within 48 hours of its creation.
A symbolic gesture against his prejudiced words, the page has contact details of Azad, including his Delhi address and phone numbers, requesting people to either call and wish him, ‘get-well-soon’, or mail him ‘get-well-soon’ Cards.
The page says, “The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been diagnosed with a grave disease. As good and responsive citizens, we want to express our sympathy and wish him a speedy recovery.” Azad’s disease has been termed as ‘delusional disorder and paranoia’ and put in the ‘contagious’ category, and the cause has been attributed to ‘misinformation’, ‘loss of memory’ and ‘anxiety’.
“We made this page as a lighthearted response to the health minister’s damaging rhetoric. None of the allegations we made on the page are to be taken literally. It is a satire. We don’t speak for the entire LGBT community,” said Kumar, a PhD student. “We feel that he has made unscientific, outdated and intolerant statements about homosexuality and
LGBT persons in India by using words like ‘unnatural’ and ‘diseased’. These are appallingly misinformed and dangerous words for the Union Health Minister to use; they hinder HIV prevention in India and scapegoat MSM and LGBT persons,” she added.