The 30-year-old Janani Ramachandran claims she has always resided at the juncture of two isolations.
She believed that few people could relate to her particular experience as an openly homosexual South Asian woman growing up after 9/11 and that representation was nonexistent.
She told NBC Asian America, “I think it absolutely is tough for LGBTQ South Asians to feel their full self in diverse environments. “Because I rarely meet people who resemble me, I sometimes feel uneasy in settings where LGBTQ people predominate. I occasionally feel uncomfortable not being reflected in settings that are primarily South Asian.
Ramachandran wants to alter that by running for Oakland City Council in this year. If elected, she will be the only woman of color and South Asian elected official in the city and state.
Her campaign reflects what analysts claim to be a demographic shift in the political landscape of the nation. LGBTQ Asian candidates for office have more than doubled since 2018. That group has grown considerably this year.
Albert Fuji, press secretary for the Victory Fund, a group that assists LGBTQ candidates, said that the past two years have been particularly difficult because of anti-Asian and anti-LGBTQ prejudice. The fact that these candidates are willing to be very conspicuous says a lot about them.
After two years of the Stop Asian Hate movement, Fuji claims that a sharp rise in community members entering politics is a direct result of the changing attitudes toward Asians.
For many people interested in public service, he remarked, “I think it sometimes takes an event or a tough couple of years to be the spark for getting to that moment where enough is enough.”
Only 20 candidates countrywide in 2018 both identified as Asian and LGBTQ. Due to the inclusion of 23 Asian LGBTQ candidates on the 2020 ballot, this number only slightly increased. There are, according to Victory Fund, 41 this year.
Naturally, there is still a lot of work to be done to close the representation gap, according to Fuji. But we have made great progress.
Being the only Asian student at his Atlanta elementary school, Sam Park, 36, a Korean American and the first openly homosexual man ever elected to Georgia’s state Legislature, believes it was surprising useful experience.
Park, a Democrat who was elected in 2016, stated, “I was frightened of running as an out homosexual politician, especially with my experience of growing up as a gay Asian in the South.” As an immigrant son from a lowly background, politics appeared out of reach.
Over the years, he witnessed policies that criminalized prejudice in Georgia and demonized the LGBTQ community pass into law. He claimed that he faced layers of conservatism even inside his own home.
One, he claimed, was just existing in a conservative culture and the South. Growing up in a Korean home, which skews more conservative, “enforced” that. I was a Southern Baptist growing up. So I was raised to believe that being gay makes you an abomination. You enter hell.
As a community leader, he said he no longer has to struggle to reconcile being gay and Korean American, as he did in his childhood and early 20s. He spends a lot of his time in office fighting anti-Asian prejudice, whether it takes the form of discrete acts of violence or deliberate political discourse.
The largest public health disaster in our country’s history has been put down to “the brazen xenophobia and racism that we’ve seen from Trump and Republicans in trying to demonize Asian Americans,” he said. We [Asian Americans] now fully understand the significance of political involvement, in my opinion.
As a candidate for reelection, he observes that the landscape for Asian representation has completely changed since he first entered politics.
Over the previous five to six years, there has been a noticeable increase in Asian American political influence and participation, which was particularly evident in the 2020 election, he claimed. “I was the lone Asian American member of the state Legislature in 2016.” There are currently, I believe, five or six, and each of them has contributed to history in a unique way.
Ramachandran claims she can draw comparisons because she has lived in both the United States and India.
When it comes to gentrification, affordable housing, pollution, infrastructure, and, of course, corruption, Bangalore exhibits many of the same issues as Oakland, she added.
She grew up witnessing her mother’s anxiety when interacting with the police, and she has firsthand knowledge of the misogyny that comes with attempting to thrive as a woman. She remembers having many people in her life tell her not to run for office when she did so last year in the California state assembly.
However, she claimed that the success of her campaign exceeded her expectations. She advanced to the runoff, but Mia Bonta ultimately prevailed.
She claimed that the coming race felt distinct. She may experience several “firsts” as a result of it, but generally, according to Ramachandran, it signifies a far larger societal shift in terms of who is allowed to run for government.
Just over a year ago, she recalled, “I remember so well everyone telling me not to do it.” “I want to demonstrate to others how this is altering. Voters are prepared for novel ideas. Additionally, our own communities must take action if we are to encourage LGBTQ leadership, API leadership, and women leadership.
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