Kerala's First Intersex Candidate's Fight Is Against LGBTQI+ Stigma

The 25-year-old activist aims to bring about societal acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community through education

Awasthi Rajappan, also known as Chinju, has become Kerala’s first openly intersex candidate and will contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The 25-year-old resident of Angamaly aims to bring about societal acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community through education.

Intersex people are born with any variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, hormones, gonads or genitals

Rajappan told TNIE,

“While rights for the transgender and queer community are assured by the state, and the repressive Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code has been struck down by the Supreme Court last year, there has not been much of improvement in the lives of people belonging to the community. The stigma still stays, like a shadow.”

Rajappan uses the pronouns ze/zir. Ze also wants to shed the societal stigma associated with dual sexuality that results in intersex foeticide. Ze told TNM,

“I am a person who has been through multiple oppressions in life. My candidature for the Lok Sabha polls is my fight to acquire equal representation for all marginalised sections of society.”

Rajappan filed nomination from Ernakulam as an independent candidate and will contest against Union Minister KJ Alphons as well as Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev. Ze added,

“My candidature is a decision taken by the queer community of Kerala. We have lost belief in all the political parties in the country. However progressive their proclamations are, nobody has done justice to the community.”

Rajappan is a prominent LGBTQI+ rights activist and has worked with a queer community in Bangalore under a fellowship he received from The Solidarity Foundation.