Despite being scheduled for a June 1st release, India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has reportedly blocked teen rom-com Love, Simon from hitting cinemas, pulling the gay-themed coming-of-age film at the last minute.
Now, members of the local LGBTIQ+ community are petitioning for the ban to be lifted, using the hashtag #ReleaseLoveSimoninIndia on social media.
According to Indian writer Priyanjali Chakraborty, tickets for the film were unavailable on June 1st, the day it had been advertised for release.
"The film was supposed to be released in India on the first of June, but when people looked for tickets on that day, the movie wasn’t found on any listing," she wrote in a piece for Feminism In India.
She continued: "Only one online portal showed the movie when it was specifically searched for, but it didn’t have a ticket booking option."
Chakraborty added that there remains a local perception that being gay, lesbian or queer-identifying is exclusive to "Western Culture".
"There is an avid need of LGBTQIA+ representation in India because every day, every second, someone gets bullied and harassed for being their true selves," she wrote.
According to one petition, "India has lacked a mainstream powerful representation of its LGBT+ citizens for a long time".
The Change.org petition continues: "Although not Bollywood, this film could not only encourage LGBT kids to come out, but also educate parents about what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual etc."
"This film could have a tremendous impact on the country’s perception of what it means to be a part of the LGBT+ community."
You can sign the petition here.