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The Pink List's Changemakers are politicians contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections who have vocally and unequivocally supported LGBTQ+ rights in the past. They've taken tangible steps to the course of queer and trans rights in India through interventions through avenues ranging from Parliament to the media.

Note: This is an archive of public statements made by candidates on LGBTQ+ issues only. We do not endorse any of the candidates on the list and encourage you to probe into their views on axes of inclusion including (but not limited to) caste, class, religion and gender.

Changemakers: What We Do

“We must uphold human rights, keep the government out of our bedrooms and defend a millennial Indian tradition of acceptance of difference,”

Shashi Tharoor | Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Indian National Congress

One of India’s LGBTQ+ ally superstars, and one of the most vocal supporters of queer rights on a national and international level, Tharoor has made the most audacious attempts at making LGBTQ+ rights a part of his national agenda. From writing articles to speaking at panels, from introducing not one but two bills for repealing Section 377 in the Lok Sabha to supporting the Transgender Persons Bill, he’s been at the forefront of queer political activism in India.

Changemakers: Quote

"Constitutional guarantees can’t be denied to a section of population just because they are a ‘minuscule minority’ ... We will extend our support to repeal this outdated and draconian provision, brought to India more than 150 years ago by the colonial British rulers."

HD Deve Gowda | Tumakuru, Karnataka

Janata Dal (Secular)

The former Prime Minister of India, in a letter after Section 377 was put back on the books by the Supreme Court, came out vocally in support of the LGBTQ+ community. He is the first Prime Minister of India to take a stand on queer rights!

Changemakers: Quote

“Stigma attached to [being transgender\ is such that people try hard not to live life as they choose, but to hide their gender orientation, to hide their lifestyle. That is not a life of dignity”

Jay Panda | Kendrapada, Odisha

Bharatiya Janata Party

Emerged as one of India’s foremost queer and trans allies after publicly supporting equal rights on Twitter, on panels, and in speeches. Introduced Tiruchi Siva’s Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014 (Rajya Sabha) in the Lok Sabha to get anti-discrimination policies on the statute books - and voted in favour of both private member bills proposed by Shashi Tharoor to do away with Section 377.

Changemakers: Quote

"Structural discrimination against those vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and MSM must be removed ... Section 377 must go."

Ambumani Ramadoss | Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu

Pattali Makkal Katchi

Addressing the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Mexico City, the former Health Minister supported a progressive draft legislation on HIV and became one of the first ministers in India to speak up on LGBTQ+ issues.

Changemakers: Quote

"And while full emancipation may yet be an unfulfilled desire, it is an important first step in a legitimate struggle along that long arc of justice.”

Milind Deora | South Mumbai, Maharashtra

Indian National Congress

One of the first Indian politicians to speak up on LGBTQ+ rights, Deora was vocal about his support for queer Indians ever since the Delhi High Court struck down Section 377 in 2009 and has encouraged queer Indians to join politics. He has been outspoken in favour of LGBTQ+ rights on social media, on panels, and on television debates and discussions.

Changemakers: Quote

“I am disappointed ... This Constitution has given us a great legacy, a legacy of liberalism and openness that enjoin us to combat prejudice and discrimination of any kind”

Sonia Gandhi | Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh

Indian National Congress

In a rare statement, the former Congress President came out vocally in support of LGBTQ+ rights by speaking out against the 2013 Supreme Court verdict on Section 377. She became the first President of a national party in India to take an unequivocal stance on the issue.

Changemakers: Quote
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