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Outspoken Allies

The Pink List's Outspoken Allies are politicians contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections who have gone out of their way, either through public statements on social media or through interviews or through remarks in Parliament, to demonstrate their support for LGBTQ+ rights.

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.

 

Rahul Gandhi | Amethi, Uttar Pradesh

Indian National Congress

"This country is known for its freedom of expression. It should be left to individuals," said Gandhi in a press appearance after Section 377 was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013. He’s also held private and public consultations with the LGBTQ+ community and pushed for including LGBTQ+ rights in the Congress manifesto.

Supriya Sule | Baramati, Maharashtra

Nationalist Congress Party

Has vocally supported the transgender community and worked towards making the NCP trans-inclusive. Moved amendments to the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. "Transgender Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Transgender Rights. Remembering all those who have lost their lives to Transgender Hate and violence. Remember, gender identity is not a choice, Trans hate is!" she tweeted in 2018.

Jagadambika Pal | Domariyaganj, Uttar Pradesh

Bharatiya Janata Party

Introduced amendments to the Army, Navy, and Air Force Act. "The Armed Forces too [have] treated differently and adversely those who did not adhere to normative standards and definitions of sexual identities and orientations … This Bill seeks to make it clear that a person's sexual identity or orientation cannot form the grounds for disciplinary action of any kind … with a view to give equal rights and opportunities to members of the LGBT community to dedicate their lives for the nation and serve in the Armed Forces," said the statement of objects of the Bill.


Sushmita Dev | Silchar, Assam

Indian National Congress

"Supreme Court's decision on #377 was long overdue. It's absurd to criminalise an act that harmed absolutely nobody except some conservative views. Congratulations to all the people who fought for it," tweeted the All India Mahila Congress president after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377. She's also been instrumental in inducting Apsara Reddy into the party and has taken initiative to make the Mahila Congress more trans-inclusive.

Kanhaiya Kumar | Begusarai, Bihar
Communist Party of India

In an article written for Scroll in May 2019, he wrote, “We must speak for the marginalised – not only for minorities but also for trans-genders and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.” He also tweeted in support after Section 377 was read down in 2013.

Dharamvira Gandhi | Patiala, Punjab

Punjab Democratic Alliance

Raised a question in the Lok Sabha on possible government proposals to amend or repeal Section 377 that included a section on giving legal status to sexual relationships outside the gender binary (after the Supreme Court recognised the third gender and guaranteed them rights under the OBC category).

Priya Dutt | Mumbai North Central, Maharashtra

Indian National Congress

Dutt was one of the first MPs to speak up against Section 377 in 2013. “I do not think it is a sensitive issue. I feel it is an issue which we need to address sooner or later,” she said in an interview. “Today, the judgement of the Supreme Court has been a breath of fresh air,” said Dutt in a video on the Congress Twitter handle after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377.

Kanimozhi | Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

First in her party to come out in support of the LGBT community. “Personal choices we make in our lives should not be dictated by law - well done SC for this historic verdict,” she tweeted after Section 377 was decriminalised. “The rights of #LGBTQ community are finally recognised and India has taken an important step towards fulfiling its universal human rights obligations. Hope we move towards a more liberal, tolerant and inclusive society,” she added.

Prakash Raj | Bengaluru Central, Karnataka

Independent

After the 2013 judgement reinstating Section 377, Prakash Raj was an outspoken voice against the criminalisation of same-sex relations. His Lok Sabha manifesto makes healthcare for LGBTQ+ folks, workplace rights, and citizen consultation to take the LGBTQ+ rights movement forward a priority.  “There is a dire need for awareness and a push for social acceptance for a life of dignity and right to work … It is the responsibility of the government to provide safe and secure living conditions for [marginalised] communities,” reads his manifesto.

Jayant Chaudhary | Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh

Rashtriya Lok Dal

First in his party to openly come out in support of the LGBT community. “Let me say what many are afraid to say out loud...Natural / unnatural, alien to our culture & other such arguments should not stand above human rights & the practical demand for decriminalising personal orientations,” he tweeted after Section 377 was decriminalised.

Tariq Anwar | Katihar, Bihar

Indian National Congress

Voted in favour of both private member bills proposed by Shashi Tharoor to do away with Section 377. “Today is a good day for India and for human rights. Discrimination has no place in Indian society ... The State has an obligation to protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said after Section 377 was struck down by the Supreme Court.

Dr. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar | Barasat, West Bengal

Trinamool Congress

Spoke out against the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill and moved an amendment to include same-sex and transgender couples within the ambit of the surrogacy law.

Badaruddoza Khan | Murshidabad, West Bengal

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Voted in favour of both private member bills introduced by Shashi Tharoor to do away with Section 377. Also spoke up against provisions of the government’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016.

Shatrughan Sinha | Patna Sahib, Bihar

Indian National Congress

“Old rusty laws are like useless politicians. They should be thrown out. I’m glad Section 377 has been repealed. It was long due. What two people do in the privacy of their bedroom is nobody’s business, certainly not the governments,” he said after Section 377 was struck down. “A big victory to all those who fought over the years relentlessly towards this massive achievement today,” he tweeted soon after.

Konda Vishweshwar Reddy | Chevella, Telangana

Indian National Congress

“The hijras or the LGBT community deserve the same opportunity, rights and dignity as any other human being ... If we do not grant them the same opportunities, rights and dignity, then maybe, we should start or introduce another Bill for not recognising them as human beings,” he said during a debate on Jay Panda’s Rights of Transgenders Persons Bill, 2014 in the Lok Sabha.

Pinaki Misra | Puri, Orissa 

Biju Janata Dal

Consistently spoke out against Section 377 - and proactively - in the mainstream media. "You must give succour to crores of people. Now the number is not in lakhs. The number is in crores," Misra said.

Shobha Karandlaje | Udupi-Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka

Bharatiya Janata Party

“Once criminality of #Section377 goes, so will stigma against #LGBTQ: Supreme Court. Historic!!!” tweeted Shobha after Section 377 was struck down.

Poonam Mahajan | Mumbai North Central, Maharashtra

Bharatiya Janata Party

“Happiness all around as Equality prevails again,” tweeted Poonam after Section 377 was struck down.


Atishi | East Delhi

Aam Aadmi Party

"It is an infringement of basic human rights ... The judgment was not in the spirit of the freedom of expression, as it is a matter of personal choice," she said after Section 377 was put back on the books by the Supreme Court.

Gautam Gambhir | East Delhi

Bharatiya Janata Party

After Section 377 was decriminalised, Gautam Gambhir inaugurated the Hijra Habba in New Delhi. “It’s not about being a man or a woman. It’s about being a HUMAN,” he tweeted after a Raksha Bandhan ceremony with transgender community members and activists in New Delhi in August 2018.

Supriya Shrinate | Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh

Indian National Congress

“Gay sex can't be a criminal offence. Definitely not in the 21st century,”

Shrinathe tweeted on 2 February 2016 before the final hearing of the petition challenging Section 377 was held at the Supreme Court.