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Updated: April 25, 2014 15:59 IST

First time voting for ‘Others’

S. Mohammed Rohith
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PROUD OF RECOGNITION: Transgender Bharathi Kannamma, independent
candidate for Madurai, displays the indelible ink mark on her finger after she cast her vote in the city on Thursday. Photo: R. Ashok
The Hindu PROUD OF RECOGNITION: Transgender Bharathi Kannamma, independent candidate for Madurai, displays the indelible ink mark on her finger after she cast her vote in the city on Thursday. Photo: R. Ashok

Transgenders vote for the first time under a new category

Several transgenders in the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday cast their votes for the first time under the ‘Others’ category introduced by the Election Commission (EC) recently.

“Today, I feel proud to have voted under the ‘Others’ category. Earlier, I was tired of voting as a man when I didn’t feel like one. Now, I am happy that my community has got recognition, said Bhavani, a transgender from Kamarajapuram.

The transgenders believe that the key to their progress lies in getting recognition as an alternative gender. Such recognition, they feel, would help them fight for other rights in healthcare, education and employment.

Casting her vote at Thiruvalluvar Corporation High School, transgender activist Barathi Kannamma, who is the sole representative of the community in the State as a contestant in the Lok Sabha polls, said, “It is a glorious moment for me. The dreams of thousands of transgenders in the State have come true. Irrespective of the election results, I would continue my social work,” she said.

Thanking the Supreme Court for having recognised transgenders as a third gender through a recent judgement, Ms. Kannamma said, “I am sure the ruling would help the transgenders access education and employment opportunities which, in turn, would help them contribute to their families.”

She further said, “When transgenders make an economic contribution to their families, I am sure their families wouldn’t abandon them and society will also gradually embrace them.”

About her political ambitions, Ms. Kannamma said, “Preparations are under way for the 2016 State Assembly elections. Rather than aligning with regional or national parties, we are planning to ally with youngsters and women.”

As per the draft voters’ list reviewed in January, a total of 66 transgenders had enrolled themselves in the district. As many as 53 among them live in the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency and the rest in the Virudhunagar constituency.

“I am so happy to have fulfilled my democratic duty as a transgender. I thank the Election Commission for giving priority to people belonging to the transgender community,” said Swapna, a 23-year-old transgender who voted for the first time.

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