LGBTI group in India launches campaign to promote inclusive voting

LGBTI Indians and supporters hold a rainbow flag | Photo: Facebook / Tanmoy Bhaduri for The Quint With the upcoming lower parliament elections gathering steam, Mumbai’s LGBTI community is working to spread awareness with a social media campaign.

Queer organization Gaysi has taken to Instagram to urge voters to be more aware of what parties are actually saying about the LGBTI community in their manifestos.

Voting began on 11 April and is open until 19 May. Lok Sabha, India’s lower parliament, will announce the results on 23 May. ‘Chock-a-block with homophobic voices’

In an Instagram post, Gaysi sketched out what each party vying for people’s vote stand LGBTI right-wise.

Sakshi Juneja, co-founder of Gaysi, told Mid-Day that they are highlighting the stands of political parties.

‘We don’t tell people who to vote for, but want to educate them about issues relevant to the community.

Congress and CPI [Communist Party of India] have included our community in their manifestos and mentioned issues while BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] hasn’t.’ What did they say about the parties?

They slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for being ‘chock-a-block with homophobic voices, who provoke communal and regional tensions on the daily.’

Gaysi cast a light on party members denouncing the repeal of Section 377. A section of the Indian Penal Code that banned queer sex.

Last year, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to repeal the act.

The BJP’s ‘two lines for transgender welfare’ also came under fire from Gaysi, who said it ‘almost seems like forced tokenism at this point.’

The aforementioned two lines include policy initiatives to promote visibility of trans people, and skill development avenues for trans youth. ‘The most comprehensive’ party

The group spoke positively about the Communist Party of India, who dubbed their manifesto ‘the most comprehensive’ when it comes to LGBTI progress.

For example, one pledge includes introducing measures to address LGBTI discrimination in schools. Such as more trans-inclusive bathrooms.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress party pledged to withdraw a controversial trans rights bill . Trans rights groups have critisized the bill for denying trans people the right to self-identify. Make your vote count. Our future depends on it! #india #lgbtqi #queer #indianelections2019 #elections2019 #gender #sexuality #equalrightsforall (artwork by @adt_monde) LGBTI voters are front and center

As election season fires up, trans voters are in the heated spotlight. Visibility in the Asian country is on the up as trans people create their own powerful political presence.

Importantly, more and more trans Indians are assuming positions of power.

Furthermore, trans Indians will also be able to vote as a third gender for the first time.

As a result, just over 39,000 voters registered under the trans-inclusive option. Though, a 2014 consensus found at least 5000,000 Indian citizens identify as trans. India’s voting systems 101

With around 900 million voters, almost 2,000 registered parties, and five weeks of voting, the Indian elections can seem cacophonous.

Moreover, political pundits cannot simply shade the country’s patchwork of states, cultures, and various classes red or blue; it’s a kaleidoscopic country.

But as voters take to the polls, they will take stock of the country’s soaring unemployment rates, rising spates of violence, and farmer’s frustrations as India’s agriculture is suffocated by drying policies.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party are fighting to retain power.

But they face a rising opponent in the form of the Indian Congress Party. See also

Indian National Congress mulling a transgender rights bill and gender-sensitivity training in government offices