Her Stories is coming to you from Canada for the next few weeks, but the stories I look forward to sharing span the entire globe.
The obstacles women are coming up against are often far too similar the world over. And nowhere has that been more evident than with the Me Too movement and the responses to it.
This week, freelance writer Binjal Shah took a look at what happens when Twitter ― which, let’s face it, benefits from the traffic that comes from people using the #MeToo hashtag ― doesn’t support the people sharing their stories on the platform.
“I could not help but step back just to marvel at the miracle Indians on Twitter had together created, and feel immensely lucky that the women and the women’s movement in general of our time, afforded us a chance to be a part of something this potent and empowering,” Binjal said, recalling when the Me Too movement arrived in India.
But the reality is that women who participate in the movement are often met with online abuse.
“Why hasn’t a single harasser posting rape threats online ever been arrested? Is this because a sizeable percentage of this harassment is sponsored by the powers that be?” Binjal asked. “Instead, we crack down on dissenters like Hard Kaur — an Indian-origin U.K.-based rapper who disapproved of a state government and chief minister’s governance, posted her views online, and had a defamation lawsuit promptly arrive at her doorstep.”
For now, Binjal is focusing on the positive feedback she’s gotten from the piece, including from people who didn’t know this was happening and now are vowing to fight back. And that, to her, is the real point.
“Turning that white noise back into pandemonium that stirs reaction and action — and amongst the uninitiated, no less — is crucial,” she said. “Me Too, after all, was also erected on the same principal and followed the same trajectory.”
Thanks for reading along.
For more on India’s Me Too movement, follow Binjal Shah (@binjal_s), where she’ll be participating in “woke” Twitter “in its full existentialist, anarchist glory.” And for readers who want more news from India, check out Features Editor Piyasree Dasgupta (@piyasreedg), Head of News Sharanya Hrishikesh (@sharanyahk) and HuffPost India (@HuffPostIndia).
Daniela Lourdes Falanga has never been one to do what’s expected of her. Growing up as the “only male heir” in the rigid patriarchal structure of a southern Italian family — one heavily involved in crime — she learned how negatively her mother would react if she expressed interest in things perceived to be feminine. But that didn’t stop her from being true to herself, wearing the clothes she wanted and having gender confirmation surgery in her twenties. Then, she started advocating for people who are dealing with “the most marginal experiences.”
When Maju Giorgi’s son André first came out to her at the age of 14, “I told him not to worry. I went to my mother’s home and told everyone, ‘My son is gay and no prejudice will be tolerated.’”
It’s this same acceptance and forcefulness that has helped her create Mothers of Diversity in her native Brazil, a country that is one of the most dangerous in the world for LGBTQ people. The 2,000-member organization is now fighting prejudice and lending support across the country.
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