Only 12.54% of 3,341 in the ‘others’ category voted
While they were given the option of voting under the ‘others’ category, the turnout of the transgender community was rather “disappointing” in Thursday’s polling for the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu.
According to data released by the office of Chief Electoral Officer on Saturday, only 12.54 per cent of the 3,341 voters registered under the ‘others’ category exercised their franchise.
In urban centres, such as Chennai, where the community members are said to be concentrated, the turnout was 2.18 per cent.
In four constituencies, none of those registered under the category voted.
A number of reasons are cited for the low voting figures. First, community members say the number of transgenders in the ‘others’ category is not reflective of the actual strength of the community.
“Most of us prefer to vote as females. Our estimate is that the State has 30,000 such people,” says R. Jeeva, who heads ‘We Community Action Network,’ an NGO working for transgender rights.
The adversarial atmosphere the community members face in public spaces could be a reason for so many to avoid going to polling booths.
“As our population is not so high, demanding a separate booth or line may not be conceded. Many also migrate for work. This is also a factor for low turnout,” says Ms. Jeeva.Separate camps
The NGO, in fact, had urged Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar to hold separate camps for members of the community so that they came forward to include themselves in the ‘others’ category.