Is your local candidate homophobic or supportive of the LGBTQ community? A new website, www.pinklistindia.com, has done the research for you. It’s a comprehensive guide to all the politicians contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections who have publicly come out as queer and trans inclusive.
“There was a need to go beyond high-profile politicians who receive media coverage. There are so many candidates in semi-urban and rural parts of the country who don’t have anything [like that] to gain by supporting LGBTQ rights. The Pink List is an attempt to get all of them on a common platform,” says Anish Gawande (director of the Dara Shikoh Fellowship), who co-created the resource along with journalist Devina Buckshee, and freelance designer Smriti Deora.
The Pink List, which cuts across party lines, is divided into four sections: ‘Trailblazers’ contains information about LGBTQ candidates directly contesting the elections, and if elected, will be the first out and proud Lok Sabha members (Kerala’s intersex Dalit activist Ashwathi Rajappan, Tamil Nadu’s only transgender candidate, Radha). ‘Superheroes’ feature politicians who have publicly championed LGBT rights (HD Deve Gowda, Jay Panda), while ‘Heroes’ feature those who have particularly supported the fight against Section 377 and Transgender Persons Bill (Rahul Gandhi, Supriya Sule). The final section, ‘Allies’, politicians who have backed LGBTQ rights through statements or actions within Parliament (particularly in supporting Shashi Tharoor’s Bill to scrap Section 377).
To create The Pink List, Anish and Devina pored through news reports and publicly accessible Lok Sabha online archives, which date back to 2010.
Post the election results, Anish hopes to get the winning candidates together in Delhi, for a dialogue with each other and with members of the community so they can be better allies. “The idea is to take The Pink List offline,” he says.
The Pink List makes it a point to clarify that candidates who are pro-LGBTQ rights may not necessarily have a similar stance when it comes to other sensitive areas. ‘We encourage you to dig deeper into candidates’ views on caste, religion, gender and income inequality to make a truly informed choice this year,’ the website reads.