Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#LGBTQ: Facebook under-fire for blocking picture of two Sikh men kissing

Facebook has come under fire after blocking the account of a Canadian-Sikh who posted a picture of him kissing another man.

Syed Hai and Kanwar Saini AKA "Sikh Knowledge", were photographed locking lips at a demonstration in Toronto against India's decision to overturn a ruling which decriminalized homosexuality on 15 December.

A day after the photograph was posted, Facebook shut down Saini's account for 12 hours after the pic was reported by a follower.

Saini's status accompanying the photograph read: "Last night my uncle told me if they knew i was gay before 20 they would have killed me. He also said im gay cause i was molested as a kid and im on "the wrong path"...and when was i getting married? ...i laughed and hung up. He comes from the same backwards place a whole minority were just recriminalized ... Fuck my uncle. Fuck section 377. Im very proud to be illegal in any context. I owe that to my sikhi heritage and my mom. Also, for all the ranting about genocide i hear...i rarely see solidarity. So...fuck em all. ?#?sikhknowledge??#?baagi? #377 ?#?section377? xoxox"

After Facebook blocked the photograph for being "offensive", Saini - a speech-language pathologist - took to Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr to share the status, eliciting thousands of 'likes'.

In an email to Buzzfeed, Facebook said that, "The photo was mistakenly removed and has been reinstated. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Facebook's decision to block Saini's account drew criticism from hundreds of social media users who decried the site's "double standards" and called the decision "ridiculous".

In an interview with the Huffington Post Canada, Saini's friend Syed said: "Gay South Asians don't exist in mainstream media, so when people do see it, it can be uncomfortable."

India's Supreme Court struck down a 2009 lower court decision to decriminalize homosexual conduct last week, dealing a blow to LGBT campaginers who have fought for the right to live openly.

Under current Indian law, parts of which date back to the British Raj, homosexual acts can be punishable by up to ten years in prison.



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