We Need To Be Represented By Our Own: Harish Iyer On Joining Politics
LGBTQ activist Harish Iyer on Tuesday announced that he is joining the Congress party. In a series of tweets the well known activist shared why did he feel the need to get into politics now more than ever. The people from the LGBTQ community have finally found a legitimate advocate to represent them in the election process. Harish works for a number of socio-cultural issues. His entry into politics is important, because as he himself puts in one of tweets, “People aren’t aware of the difference between trans and intersex, and many still worship trans people and not as one of their own. There are no homosexual people in Indian politics that I know who wear their sexuality and their party name, both on their sleeve.”
Talking to SheThePeople.TV, Harish said, “I think it’s important for every respected person of society to have a political thought. Especially at a time when winds of hate are being doled out in the biggest way possible and minorities are being targeted. I think it’s important that we make our ideologies extremely clear and take an active plunge into politics.”
I don’t want our community to have all the rules written by people who are not us: Harish
Harish Iyer was raped at the age of seven, and the abuse carried on for 11 years, he revealed in an interview with Humans of Bombay. His own childhood trauma inspired him to help those who had had similar experiences.
Explaining his rights in the society, he said, “We have to suggest and manifest our own rules which are beneficial to the community. We have to start taking action by participating in politics.”
Talking about why homosexual people in the society must get involved in politics in India, Harish said, “Even though homosexual people have acquired every status of the society, forming a group in every economic class, caste or religion, there’s no openly homosexual person who is willing to come out and take a seat. The solution could be that either people within the parties, living in the closet for so long, come out and take charge or the ones from outside get in, to create an ecosystem which motivates the people who are still in the closet.”
He mentioned that there are no homosexual people in Indian politics that he knows of.
The need to represent LGBTQ in the election process
Harish expressed, “I personally believe that we have to get into politics irrespective of who we are, no matter which party we belong to. There should be a competition among parties as in how they are taking the matter of LGBTQ perspective in the election process seriously. Who among them can come up with a different idea, a unique outlook.”
“Since the time I have posted that I have joined the party, people from the opposition started posting a lot of positive matter related to LGBTQ issues. They started defending their agenda in the matter of homosexuality. So if one person with different ideology comes forth, good cause wins, always!”
He further added, “They might disagree on some level but it’s for a good cause. The ultimate purpose here is to fight for equality.”
The activist gave us a quick look at his agenda as a member of the Congress party. He wishes to encourage more people from the LGBT community to join politics. “One of the main policies I would rather stress upon is Section 377. The onus of the policy should be creating awareness around LGBTQ rights. That is one issue I am strongly focused on. I am also working on the importance of giving legitimate advocacy to transgender people. Most importantly, I want to set up an All India Queer Congress Wing. This will build a structure in the society. I will most definitely team up people from different sexual approach, who are having different sexual identities, different gender identity. Those who are comfortable enough to openly challenge the norm. It is high time that queer people take decisions for us queer people,” he continued.
We need to understand that LGBTQ is not monolith. Be it our rights to get educated or to work, creating awareness on a larger scale, we need to be represented by our own: Harish
Joining the conversations further, Madhuri Sarode Sharma, who has fought for the rights of LGBT community for years, told SheThePeople.TV, “Scrapping of the Section 377 brought the entire nation together in joy. Let’s all raised a toast for Harish Iyer for taking the plunge here. He, more than anyone, knows the struggle we go through as a community in India. We need only love and support, and the right to be accepted in the society.
She further added, “There are talented people in our community but they don’t get much exposure due to lack of support. So if Harish wants to do something for us it should be an empowering process. His intention should be deeper and powerful. Please let’s spend our time in eradicating the stigma around our people.”
Sakshi Juneja, founder of Gaysi, an online Queer blog focusing on the Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (LBT) community, said “Harish joining politics is definitely good news for the community. In fact, before him we also had Apsara Reddy who made history by becoming the first transgender office bearer of the Congress party. For the longest time, we (the LGBTQI community) have been ignored and labelled as a minuscule minority by the state (irrespective of the which serving government), the law and society. Hence, a lot of catching up has to be done by all the three. That too quickly, cause we simply cannot and should not be asked to be patient and be in forever waiting. Like Mr Manmohan Singh said once, “In the long run we are all dead”. On the other hand, one hopes this will also encourage other members of the Queer community to get in politics, aim for higher ranks and thereby quicken effective policy making decisions.”
Feature Image Credit: NDTV