Puducherry Assembly polls | Third gender voters demand survey among their community

As per the electoral statistics available with authorities, the UT has 116 third gender voters, including 96 in Puducherry region

April 06, 2021 06:04 pm | Updated 06:04 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

Third gender voters displaying election identity card at a polling booth in Ariankuppam constituency in Puducherry on Tuesday.

Third gender voters displaying election identity card at a polling booth in Ariankuppam constituency in Puducherry on Tuesday.

Third gender voters want the next government in the Union Territory to conduct a survey to identify the number of transgenders in the UT and frame measures to bring them into the mainstream.

As per the electoral statistics available with authorities, the UT has 116 third gender voters, including 96 in Puducherry region. Largest number of third gender voters, 18, are in Ariankuppam constituency, followed by 16 in Karaikal North.

Sheetal Nayak, president of Sahodaran Community Oriented Health Development Society, told The Hindu , after voting in a polling booth at Ariankuppam, that the number of eligible transgender voters are much more than the figure with Election authorities.

“I am sure the numbers will cross 1000 in UT if the government conducts a detailed survey. When many of us in the community desire to get a voter card, the authorities will direct us to get a birth certificate or other bonafide certificates to prove our identity. Where will we go because majority of us are thrown out of homes and all the certificates to show our birth must have been destroyed by now,” Sheetal said.

No person would like to take alms to make a living. Sheetal said it was the circumstances that push a transgender to the streets. “People complain about our community members on taking alms. What else do we do? Getting a house for rent itself is difficult and somehow if we manage to get one, how will we pay the rent? The government should at least provide free housing facility like they give for other vulnerable sections,” said Durga Renjitha who also exercised the franchise at Bhoopalan Kalyanamandapam, Kakkayanthoppu in Ariankuppam constituency.

Sheetal said the government could conduct a study to find out the actual number of transgenders in the UT and devise a programme to accommodate them into the mainstream by providing some training in skill development programme.

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