LGBT Community Hedges Bets in Karnataka Polls
Section 377 is the main concern
BENGALURU: The Karnataka Election 2018 has created a fever pitch among a lot of people. There are a lot of demands put forth by different communities. Just like the Lingayats have demanded their rights and they have a specific opinion and choice regarding the vote, Similarly, the LGBT communities have presented their demands.
Last October, the Karnataka government made the right headlines when it formally adopted the Karnataka State Policy on Transgenders. Speaking to The Times Of India a Week back, Shilok Mukkati said “I am not Voting this time due to a personal situation but frankly, even if I had the option,I would have Stayed away.It’s better to not vote than to vote for the Wrong person.”
“Neither Congress nor BJP government or any other government is interested to know the real issues that affected us”, Mukkati added.
Much like Mukkati, other members from the LGBTQIA +community view voting as their duty but they all believe that none of the political government actually has any interest to address their issues. Most of the LGBT communities want Section 377 to be repealed.
Mukkati had quoted this a week before the election that the Congress government supports them only when they want to get votes, while the BJP chooses to ignore them and many of the people belonging to her community believed so.
Gay rights activist Romal Laisram had said earlier “I could stand for election but someone could have me jailed under Section 377. It’s a non-bailable offence. It is this fear that keep a lot people from coming out, let alone entering the fray.”
“ I’ll vote for a candidate who will give voice to our community”, Tusshar who helped run queer camps in Bengaluru said.
“I didn’t have a voter ID from Karnataka so couldn’t vote but If I had the voter’s ID, I would have voted for BJP government but that doesn’t mean I am happy under the current government”, said Harshil, Fashion forecaster,Visual merchandiser to The Citizen.
“ In a country where dolphins hold rights equivalent to humans, I think its absurd to halt a part of population to be able to love for each other freely, also section 377 hinders a proper education and awareness regarding the LGBTQIAP+ community making it more of a taboo”, she added.
Tony Tania Christopher(Technology lead) told this reporter, “Congress government has to win. Political system irrespective of BJP/Congress are ignoring community on fear of religious and orthodox backlash. But we are more afraid about the BJP on leadership due to its deep sentiments to religious bodies and Gurus.” Speaking about Section 377, she said, “Time has come for the governments here to join world nations in accepting diversity be it based on sexual orientation , gender,race,or caste or religion. Its saddening in this diverse country only a few categories or minorities are discriminated based on outdated Sec 377. Government shouldn’t turn a blind eye to discrimination and fear the Queer community face. Every citizen should have the right to live with peace and harmony with others.”
When asked, Sidhartha Verma, an HR executive said “Elections remind us not only of the rights but responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy, I hope we all have taken a wise decision in voting that will definitely let a good person develop this country.”