LGBTIQ Indians join citizenship law protests

LGBTIQ Indians
LGBTIQ protestors at the march. Image: @MumbAgainstCAB/Twitter

LGBTIQ Indian community organisations joined other rights groups on a march through New Delhi yesterday. The march protested the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Critics describe the law as anti-Muslim and claim it also violates India’s secular constitution.

Over 1,000 members of India’s LGBTIQ communities joined the protest. The CAA and two other government measures pose particular risk to LGBTIQ Indians, particularly Muslims. The protestors waved rainbow flags and joined the chants of ‘We want freedom from fascism’ and ‘Save the constitution’.

The CAA allows some migrants who arrived in India without documentation before 2015 from nearby Muslim majority countries to claim citizenship. However, the law specifically does not apply to Muslim migrants.

The Modi government also plans a National Register of Citizens and a National Population Register. Muslim and other minority groups suspect that taken in combination, the three initiatives will allow the government to discriminate in favour of its Hindu base.

Risk to LGBTIQ Indians

Although theoretically aimed at migrants, the combination of measures will mean every Indian needs to prove their identity. LGBTIQ activists worry the law will disproportionately affect LGBTIQ people disowned by families and forced to leave home. Unable to turn to those families for evidence of their identity, many LGBTIQ Indians may end up stateless.

Rafiul Alom Rahman from The Queer Muslim Project described the law to Al Jazeera as a double-edged sword for LGBTIQ Muslims. They endure persecution in the Muslim community for their sexuality or identity but then are also persecuted for their religion.

Despite India’s Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality in 2019, many LGBTIQ Indians continue to suffer extreme prejudice.

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