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Trailblazers

The Pink List's Trailblazers are members of the LGBTQ+ community who have taken the plunge into politics and chosen to represent the community directly in the Lok Sabha. If any of these candidates win, it will be historic – they will be the first ever politician from the LGBTQ+ community elected to the Lok Sabha.

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.

 
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“My politics is a queer-Ambedkarite politics, which includes a focus on both social and economic issues & understands how these overlap. I would like to raise issues of the disenfranchised”

Ashwathi Rajappan | Ernakulam, Kerala

Independent

25-year-old Aswathi Rajappan is well-known among the LGBTQIA+ and human rights community in Kerala and is a vocal Dalit activist who advocates for an intersectional understanding of marginalities. They have been an active part of Sahayathrika, an LBT welfare organisation based in Thrissur. They are the first openly intersex candidate contesting the Lok Sabha elections, and their candidature marks a first for queer-Dalit political representation in India.

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“After the [NALSA] verdict, people who were afraid to speak out and be open about their identity have gotten the strength. But there’s more work to do. The verdict says trans people should have equality in terms of marriage, education, legal heirship. This has not been implemented”

Radha | Chennai South, Tamil Nadu

Independent

With a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in English, Radha is a cook by profession and is Tamil Nadu’s only transgender candidate. She is focusing on local water crisis, garbage and drainage issues. Nationally, Radha’s focus is on unemployment, sexual abuse and on representation of her own  community.

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"I have been attached to the community for a long time now. We face all sorts of discrimination, disappointment and no acceptance in society … I want to raise [our] questions in the Parliament"

Sneha Kale | Mumbai North Central, Maharashtra

Durbal Ghatak Aghadi

26-year-old Sneha Kale is the first transgender to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North Central. Her concerns include inflation and equality for the LGBT community in health, education and legal fields. She works as a social worker and counsellor - and, despite being a graduate, begs for a living. She will be fighting to bring to the fore the problems faced by the widows, devadasis, backward classes and will highlight farmer suicides.

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"If I get elected, I will talk on [LGBTQ+] issues to create awareness among the public. I will also work to implement the NALSA judgment for the welfare of the Kinnar community”

Jatin Mummy | Mumbai North East, Maharashtra

Durbal Ghatak Aghadi

44-year-old Jatin wants to represent the Jogati Kinnar community in Parliament to give them and their issues a voice. There are 123 transgender voters in Mumbai North East, most of whom will campaign door-to-door for Jatin. Jatin is a part of Maharashtra Devadasi Niradhar Mahila Sanghatana and believes that intelligent, well educated people from the community should be promoted and get a chance to be elected to the the state assembly or Parliament.

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“Being transgender, we suffered a lot. BJP has treated us like beggars. But it was Arvind Kejriwal and his party who fought for our rights. AAP stood with us when no one else did. AAP is a progressive party in true sense"

Chirpi Bhawani | Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh

Aam Aadmi Party

Born in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, Chirpi Bhawani is a social activist from the Kinnar Akhada who has served on the jury of the Delhi International Film Festival. She is the Aam Aadmi Party’s first transgender candidate. She had previously voiced her support for cow protection by participating in the Gauputra Sena Sanrakshak mission to get the Emergency Cow Protection Act implemented. Her issues this election are unemployment, demonetisation and all the promises that were made by the government.