Women opposition leaders Priyanka Chaturvedi and Supriya Shrinate on Saturday criticised Union minister Smriti Irani's comment as to which gay men menstruate saying that the minister does not understand the ambit of the term LGBTQIA+. The term accommodates many categories apart from gay men and they menstruate, the opposition leaders said. The comments came after Smriti Irani in an interview with news agency ANI clarified her stance on mandatory pain menstruation leave and said the question asked to her in Parliament was ill-intended. "MP Manoj Jha asked whether the government was planning to out a menstrual hygiene policy and whether the policy would contain provisions for the LGBTQIA community. Which gay men without a uterus has a menstrual cycle?" Smriti Irani said.
"The question was intended either to shock, provoke or to attract attention. Which it did. It did attract attention, it did shock many people, it did provoke controversy, but the question in itself indicates what the intent is," the minister said.
Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said it is shameful that the minister did not know the ambit of LGBTQIA. "Shameful that we have a minister who doesn’t get the ambit of LGBTQIA+ - a commonly used umbrella term that includes transgenders, many of whom do menstruate. Her arrogance towards an issue which is a lived experience of many is shocking & insensitive," Chaturvedi said.
"LGBTQIA+ is NOT gay men alone, the community includes men and several menstruating women. Minister @smritiirani your apathy, arrogance & ignorance are appalling. Instead of voicing manufactured outrage spend some time and educate yourself on the issue," Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said.
Smriti Irani's comment in Parliament that menstruation is not a handicap and the government is not in favour of formulating any policy to make paid leave for periods mandatory triggered criticism. Smriti Irani clarified her stance and said making such a leave mandatory will expose women to bias and harassment at workplace.