By Ammu Joseph
with inputs from Anjuman Ara Begum
According to a GayStarNews article highlighting the participation of LGBTI candidates in the ongoing elections, “This year’s elections are the most LGBTI-inclusive yet,” with “openly-queer Indians making waves in national politics for the first time.”
This is also probably the first time queer candidates, as well as queer rights and issues, have received significant coverage in the “mainstream” media.
A report in The Times of India points out that this is the first time the queer community has found itself “deluged with campaign promises” from several political parties.
A comprehensive analysis of party manifestos by IndiaSpend includes a section on LGBT rights under “newer issues” that have made their way into such political documents:
“The Congress promises to ensure the effective implementation of the ruling in the Navtej Singh Johar case as the next steps are towards legalising same-sex marriage. If voted to power, the Congress promises to immediately withdraw the Transgender Bill of 2018 that is pending in Parliament. Instead, it aims to introduce a Bill consistent with the judgment in the case in order to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) rights.
“The CPI-M has also promised legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples similar to marriage–a ‘civil union’, ’same-sex-partnership’–through legislation on the lines of the Special Marriage Act 1954. This aims to ensure that partners can be listed as dependents for the purposes of inheritance, alimony, etc. Legislation will also ensure that crimes against LGBT persons are treated on par with crimes against non-LGBT persons. The BJP manifesto has no mention of these groups.”
The Hindu carried at least four LGBT-related election stories by different writers between 6 and 17 April:
In Kerala, a queer shift on the poll scene
The invisible ‘third gender’ voters
‘I believe in collaboration, not confrontation’
Is your LS candidate LGBTQ-friendly? This list helps you find out
Waiting on the world to change. (Photo courtesy Quartz India)
Quartz India also carried a story on the list of politicians backing the LGBT community. As another QI article points out, “The Indian queer community has never been so invested and watchful of national politics as it is right now in the midst of the general elections. Not only are a large number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and allies (LGBTQA+) combing through party manifestos and posting online comments on them, many are even suggesting who to vote for and who not to.”
NB Please do add links to other pieces on LGBTQI candidates and/or rights in the context of the ongoing elections in the comments section.