Harish Iyer, LGBT rights activist, has joined the Congress party. On Twitter, he announced that he is going to be weeding out "homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and the politics of hate". "This is the time to build a world which respects all kinds of love-- otherwise we will be left with all kinds of hate," Iyer told News18.com.
The LGBT rights activist said that the 'inclusive nature' of the Congress party is what attracted him the most. He believes that more and more queer people should enter politics. "We cannot make them understand what queerdom is unless we enter the system," he said. "No political party should be in a position to say that they don't know any LGBT person."
Iyer also feels that all political parties should start becoming more inclusive. "Bring in a queer Muslim, or a queer Dalit-- they need their rights and representation," he said.
Besides inclusiveness, the LGBT rights activist is hopeful about a lot of other things. I imagine a day where all political parties will have LGBT representation and we will discuss our rights. I hope for a day when there is going to be an 'All India Queer Congress'."
When he was asked about Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's infamous comment where he called homosexuality a 'disease', Iyer said, "homophobia stems from the fact that people don't interact. To understand that it's not a disease, you need to interact with us." Back in 2011, when Azad was the Health Minister, he had said, "Unfortunately this disease has come to the world and in our country in which a man has sex with a man. It is very unnatural and this should not happen, but in our country, the numbers are increasing. It's difficult to find them because you don't know who is doing it and where they are."
"Gender sensitivity will have to begin within the party so that politicians like Ghulam Nabi Azad don't need to come out and apologize," he said.
Will India then see more LGBT netas soon? "Well, I do believe that equality is the way to go. I hope I can become the Pete Buttigieg of India," he said. Buttigieg is the first prominent openly gay presidential candidate in the United States.
The Congress party, in its manifesto, has promised to withdraw the pending Transgender Bill and direct gender sensitivity training in all government offices including the Army and Indian Air Force.