No queer representation in 2024 Lok Sabha, 108 MPs vocal on LGBTQIA+ issues | Politics News

Out of 543 newly elected MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha, 108 MPs have engaged in discussions about LGBTQIA+ issues, Hindustan Times reported, citing Pinklist India. 

Pinklist India, an archive documenting policies and advocates for India’s queer community, also highlighted a decrease from the previous Lok Sabha, which had 161 MPs addressing these issues. ‘Vocal’ in this context means mentioning the community and its concerns, regardless of whether the tone was positive or negative.

Before the 2024 General elections, parties within the INDIA bloc, including Congress, CPI(M), and NCP(SP), included LGBTQ issues in their manifestos, the HT report claimed. They committed to implementing anti-discrimination laws and recognizing same-sex civil unions. CPI(M) and NCP(SP) additionally promised healthcare access for gender-affirming surgeries. 

Meanwhile, the BJP pledged to expand the ‘Garima Graha’ shelter project for transgender persons and include them in the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

There is limited data on the LGBTQ population in India, with the only estimate being a 2012 government figure of 2.5 million. In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, few LGBTQ members ran for office, with several withdrawing. PTI reported that all three transgender candidates lost their security deposits for not securing one-sixth of the total valid votes.

Despite 48,000 registered transgender voters, the Election Commission of India (ECI) noted only a 20 per cent turnout among eligible transgender voters in the final voting phase. 

Data on other identities within the LGBTQ community is scarce, with only those registered as ‘third gender’ by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment counted as third gender/transgender voters, Hindustan Times said.

Rajan Singh, Delhi’s first transgender candidate, got just over 300 votes in the Lok Sabha poll while contesting from the South Delhi constituency. “We may not be in Parliament but the streets are ours and we will continue to fight for our rights,” Singh had told The Hindu.

First Published: Jun 12 2024 | 6:21 PM IST

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