Earlier this month, participants from Victory Institute and Solidarity Foundation’s LGBTIQ Political Leadership Academy organized a Civil Society Forum in Bengaluru to engage with political parties. Attended by political parties including the Aam Admi Party (AAP), Bahujan Sawaj Party (BSP) and Indian National Congress, the forum started an important conversation on political spaces for sexual minorities.
“We invited leaders from all political parties to come and interact with us; we wanted to see what the politicians would say to us. Whether it’s a communist party or a Dalit party, whether it’s a party that has money or a party that doesn’t have money,” said Kiran, a participant of the Leadership Academy, who is keen on participation in politics to create more inclusive and better societies.
During this time of rising Hindu fundamentalism, nationalism and Islamophobia in India, this forum presented an opportunity to push forward progressive politics. Political parties such as BSP and AAP are increasingly acknowledging the role that the community plays by including more LGBTIQ people within their structures and helping them run campaigns.
Victory Institute and the Solidarity Foundation are working with LGBTIQ leaders in India to increase their political participation, including training them on electoral campaigns, public communications, human rights mechanisms and building intersectional movements. Victory Institute also organized the LGBTIQ Interparliamentary Plenary session during the World Pride Madrid 2017, which was attended by Apsara Reddy, a transwoman and a journalist serving as the spokesperson of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), an Indian political party in the state of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.