Harish Iyer, an internationally recognised Equal Rights activist, has now taken the plunge into politics. He has joined the Indian National Congress which is regarded as the grand old party of his home country.
Iyer is a well known advocate of the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and someone who has also campaigned for the welfare of child sexual abuse and rape survivors. He is also deeply committed to animal welfare. Though he has been a public personality, he was never really seen as a politician. Explaining his decision in a series of tweets, Iyer said the following:
Harish Iyer has been much loved by people across party lines in India and many wondered why he joined the Congress instead of the Aam Admi Party or the Communist Party of India, both of whom had pledged support to the LGBTQIA+ community much before the Congress. While Iyer acknowledged with great dignity the role of other parties and expressed his gratitude, he also stands by his choice of joining the Congress.
“I am grateful to Communist Party for their inclusion of LGBT rights in their manifesto and for their fight for equality and inclusion of all marginalised and ostracised people. However, my approach to politics and policies is more aligned towards the INC,” he says. “While it was AAP’s Preeti Sharma Menon who originally propelled me into the world of politics and I have a special place for AAP in my heart and wish them well, I guess we all have our own journeys. It is the Congress that has given me the platform I need and the tools to further my goals. I have met with and seen first hand the commitment of Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Priya Dutt towards empowering the LGBTQIA+ community and we have the same vision for Queer rights.”
Harish Iyer hopes to set up an All India Queer Congress, a queer focused body within the Congress Party, along the lines of the All India Mahila Congress that looks into women’s issues.