The youngest Prime Minister of Ireland, who is also the first gay Prime Minister, also the first Indian origin Prime Minister, these seem to be few of the firsts which Leo Varadkar, the 38 year old Taoiseach of Ireland has achieved, sadly had he been in India he would never have been accepted into the mainstream society let alone the politics.
In January of 2015, when Varadkar was the country’s health minister, he openly came out as gay in a national radio broadcast saying that being gay is a part of who I am and my character. In the same month of January 2015, Ramesh Tawadkar, the minister of Goa Youth Affairs said that there need to be “gay centres” set up in the state, so that he could train and cure them.
India seems to be ecstatic about the idea of Indian origin gay person becoming the PM of Ireland, but we seem to have forgotten had Varadkar been in India the story would have been quite different for him.
The admiration and blessings being showered on Varadkar is tremendous, but it is shameful how we actually treat our LGBT population. LGBT community living in India has a tough life. They are often shunned by the society, rejected by schools, university and unable to find a job, forcing them to hide their sexuality for survival in our society, where normalcy is status quo and to just have a different perception can land you in trouble with various right wing organizations and vigilantes. In such a place having a different sexuality would just invite bias, hatred and possibly violence.
We often elect and re-elect people who are murderers, have served time in jail, have cases of corruption piled up against them, and the sad thing is that had Varadkar stood in election against them, he wouldn’t have won a state legislative seat let alone become the Prime Minister.
The far more troubling form of affairs is that, the politicians in our Lok Sabha out of which 34% face criminal charges, won’t even discuss the rights of LGBT. That’s why a gay doctor would not be able to survive in the Indian political scenario, where generally caste and the last name of a candidate play a greater role in him scoring votes than his education or work.
Section 377 of the IPC still criminalizes homosexuality, and when well read politicians like Shashi Tharoor try to discuss this issue in parliament, our not so law abiding lawmakers block the discussion.
Varadkar's merit, policies, plans for development were of pertinence in Ireland, with his sexuality playing a little or minor role but had he been in India, no matter how great his policies and idea’s were, he could have never entered into mainstream politics. This shows that there is a paramount need of introspection about ourselves as a country, where a person who has the capability of becoming a Prime Minister of a European country, would have been declared as a criminal.