India: In Kerala, intersex candidate for Lok Sabha polls wants to 'protect people's right to be the way they are'

While media coverage of the Lok Sabha election 2019 is largely restricted to high-profile candidates from national parties, some candidates for the election are making their mark for representing the interests of some of the most marginalised sections of society — the LGBTQ+ community.

One of them is 25-year-old Aswathi Rajappan, the first openly intersex person to have contested the Lok Sabha polls. They will contest from Ernakulam in Kerala.

Rajappan has completed a BSc Electronics degree from IHRD College in Thodupuzha in Idukki district. They describe themselves as a "queer-Ambedkarite" candidate.

Speaking to Firstpost, Rajappan said, "If I get elected to power, among the most important things I plan to do is to ensure housing for all. It is a basic need of citizens. I will especially take care of the housing needs of migrant labourers and trans people. I have seen a lot of migrant labourers who have to live below the Kochi metro rail. I will ensure proper shelter for them."

Asked about the standpoints of mainstream political parties in Kerala about LGBTQ rights, Rajappan said, "I hope that mainstream politicians discuss the problems that are faced by queer persons, including intersex persons. The problems for intersex persons start before their birth. There are many cases in which foetuses are aborted after doctors find ambiguities in the genitalia of unborn babies. There should also be a law to prohibit corrective surgery for intersex individuals without their consent." Read more via First Post