India’s oldest political party mulls LGBTI rights in election manifesto

India’s oldest political party mulls LGBTI rights in election manifesto
Transgender community protesting in Bengaluru (Photo: Facebook)

India’s major opposition party the Indian National Congress (INC) is reported to be including LGBTI rights in their election manifesto.

INC will consult on the controversial Transgender Rights Bill. It may also make gender-sensitivity training mandatory for government bodies, according to The Print.

Its manifesto may also include better implementation of India’s landmark decriminalization of gay sex.

The party might also establish a women empowerment and justice department, according to News 18.

Section 377

India made history in September last year when it struck down Section 377 of its Colonial-era Penal Code.

The archaic law punished gay sex with up to 10 years in jail. But, the Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.

But, the LGBTI community has warned, society will take time to change. Homophobia is still rife in the country.

A transgender bill currently in the Upper House of parliament, meanwhile, has riled the trans community.

While India’s Supreme Court recognized a third gender in 2014, transgender Indians remain marginalized.

Trans Indians say the bill enshrines discrimination rather than fights against it.

More than 900 million Indians are eligible to vote in the Lower House of Parliament elections in April and May.

Congress

The INC was founded in 1885 prior to India’s independence.

Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, it became a force in India’s independence from Britain.

INC has already made the headlines this year for LGBTI inclusion.

In January, transgender activist Apsara Reddy became Indian National Congress party’s first transgender office-bearer at the national level.

INC appointed Reddy national general secretary of the party’s women’s wing, known as the Mahila Congress.

‘To be welcomed into one of India’s largest and oldest national parties is hugely emotional for me’, Reddy said.

Last month, India’s first Miss Trans Queen, Veena Sendra, joined the Indian National Congress (INC) party.

‘Today, Miss India ‘Trans Queen’ Veena Sendre joined the party expressing faith in the ideology of Congress’ INC tweeted.

‘When we say we are inclusive. We mean it’ the party also tweeted.

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Author: Rik Glauert

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