My issue with Aam Aadmi Party on LGBT rights
The crux of the matter is Arvind Kejriwal declared AAP’s support for LGBT rights in the Press Conference for the manifesto, but the manifesto itself does not contain any mention of LGBT rights. Repeated questions raised have got no clarification.
I have no doubt that Aam Aadmi Party is committed to LGBT rights. They have declared so on several occasions. They have committed to some “Womanifesto” by Indian feminists that outlines a series of actions for political parties to commit to on gender rights. They have committed to having LGBT role holders in the party on another occasion. That is not the point.
As a part of the Womanifesto they committed to including LGBT rights in their manifesto. Arvind Kejriwal endorsed LGBT rights as among the first few things in the Press Conference where he released the manifesto. So the absence of them in the manifesto is a very specifically given promise broken. That is not my issue either.
I understand that AAP is going to have to juggle several ideas to be strong enough in the Parliament to deliver on anything at all. This may mean not tweaking the noses of some of the more homophobic supporters they have (Khap Panchayats, Muslim community, average ignorant on the street, etc). I trust that the Aam Aadmi Party is not going to let the LGBT community down and can completely understand if it has to play perception games like not including LGBT rights in the manifesto just to keep various easy to outrage people calm and supporting them entering the Parliament to begin with.
I don’t have to like it, but I can understand it – if that is the case, which we don’t know. I am completely for using all available support and delivering people’s dreams while pushing through vital reforms on the side. Direct democracy sucks like that. A mob can vote out a minority’s rights, so to say. Particularly if the rights have to be recognized where they weren’t. I understand that a leader with a vision will have to play with keeping everyone thrilled and happy with governance and then forcing them to accept much needed changes too, whether they like them or not – because the country belongs to all.
What I don’t understand or appreciate is the completely unnecessary promises that will get broken. There was no need to commit to the Womanifesto – it wasn’t a legally binding document. There was no need to declare that AAP would support LGBT rights in the Press Conference for the manifesto, if AAP wasn’t supporting LGBT rights in the document released. The deliberate raising of expectations, equally deliberate breaking of them and complete lack of explanations speaks of a disregard for people.
Even a explanation that said we were not able to get all leaders to put LGBT rights in the manifesto would be adequate. Obviously AAP would lose LGBT support, but that it will lose anyway unless it gets its act together. LGBT is hardly a significant lobby. The loss can be suffered if it means the difference between AAP coming to power or not. But even doing this should have been done openly and clearly. Who knows, perhaps LGBT would still trust their intentions? Or perhaps not?
I cannot recommend a party that blatantly breaks its word as an ideal party for India. Granted, AAP is still better than BJP or Congress, but the idea that AAP is what India needs, or that AAP keeps its word to people or that AAP is transparent is shattered. It isn’t merely about LGBT rights. I was hoping AAP would have a stand on homeschooling. I never asked, because I felt fairly certain it would be supportive, and it was a subject best brought up if there already was an AAP government. Now I feel rather glad not to have asked. I am still quite sure AAP would support homeschooling if it were in power, but I am no longer sure it wouldn’t declare or deny support without explanation if a bigger motive appeared.
Most AAP leaders have Twitter accounts. Not one of them bothered to bring an explanation for this mysterious removal from the manifesto. Some say Dilip Pandey said that it wouldn’t be added, but no one is explaining why. A promise broken doesn’t even deserve an explanation? Kya izzat rakhi AAP ne AAP ke LGBT supporters ki?
Who knows who will get sidelined without explanation next?
For a party whose leader fearlessly faces questions on TV at every opportunity, why are questions of supporters going unheard? You lead. Make decisions we don’t like. We will support because we believe in the vision. But at least explain what our sacrifice of an agenda we wanted being abandoned achieved for the vision?
The intention is there, but the ethics are compromising with market factors. The intention will eventually be useful for me, but can I count on it? Vaguely. Can I recommend it? Nope. Not without putting own credibility at risk. I don’t do that for anyone unless I am convinced that the reason is more important than my authenticity being unchallenged.
If I supported after this, how would I be different from the average BJP supporter who must find a way to declare love no matter the humiliation?
So, a promise broken, gets my promise of support broken. It stays like that unless LGBT rights are restored to the manifesto, or an open explanation is provided and apology seeked.