Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party on Monday set up a cell for members belonging to the LGBT+ community making it the first political party in India to have such a cell.
State party president Jayant Patil and MP Supriya Sule formally launched the LGBT cell in Mumbai.
During the launch, Sule said, “The NCP is a progressive party and for the community, I felt that the LGBT community needs equal rights, so we made a separate cell for them.“
“The LGBT community faces education and health problems. We will continue our efforts to bring them into the mainstream, as promised in the NCP election manifesto. Today we have taken a step forward to fulfill this promise,” Jayant Patil, the party president, said.
“Priority will be given to resolving the issues of the LGBT community through this cell. The program has been planned by SAIL for the social, educational, financial empowerment of the LGBT group. We will make this program a success shortly,” the party president added.
In Maharashtra, the LGBT group constitutes 10-12%. “Their issues are not taken care of by the society, but through this cell, we will take care of them, take initiatives for equality, employment and bring them into the mainstream, said Priya Patil, state president of the cell.
Patil said that the community has been secluded since Independence and society has negatively looked at them. “But if a political party has taken such an initiative and has given us the platform for equal representation, then we would rise above and work for the rights of the community,” Patil said.
“We would focus on giving respect and their identity back to them. We would also address issues about employment and whatever other issues they face in daily life. There would also be a focus on improving relationships with the family members as well,” the cell member added.
While there have been reports of harassment faced by members of the queer community, Patil feels that these issues would now get a voice courtesy of the cell set up by the NCP.
“Today we have been given a voice where we can hold the government and other people involved in the system accountable. I am thankful to the party that they have taken such an initiative and thought to bring people like us together and speak about the progress of the community,” the state president of the cell added.