Last year the Supreme Court gave a historic verdict striking down Section 377 of the IPC decriminalising homosexuality.
While the public has (largely) welcomed it, several lawmakers have shied away from supporting it, many of them even condemning it.
So this election season, one can check how many of our Lok Sabha candidates have vouched for LGBTQ+ rights before casting a vote.
Columbia University graduate, Anish Gawande, The Quint’s Devina Buckshee and freelance designer Smriti Deora, came together to create a website — Pink List India—which compiles the list of politicians across party lines who have supported queer and trans causes.
According to The Hindu, the trio created the website after digging through news archive and parliament debates.
Launched on April 17, the website has four segments. The ‘Trailblazers’ section which features LGBTQ candidates like Ashwathi Rajappan;‘Changemakers’, which lists Lok Sabha candidates who have ‘changed the course of queer and trans rights in India through their activism, policy making, and interventions.’ This list includes Congress MP Shashi Tharoor who has also introduced a bill in Parliament to repeal Section 377, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, BJP leader Jay Panda, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
The section ‘outspoken allies’ and ‘allies’ feature leaders who have vouched their support through interview or statements in parliament.
Speaking to The Hindu, Buckshee says, “We’ve heard countless insensitive and frankly damaging comments on LGBTQ+ issues from our politicians… We talk about and bemoan their regressive, narrow-minded thinking, but what about the good guys?”
The website also goes on to say, “The candidates who support LGBTQ+ rights are not necessarily inclusive in other spheres. We encourage you to dig deeper into candidates’ views on caste, religion,gender and income inequality to make a truly informed choice this year.”