Tiruchi’s transgender voters hope for better employment opportunities

Updated - April 19, 2024 06:57 pm IST

Published - April 19, 2024 06:14 pm IST - TIRUCHI

Pavithra

Pavithra

G. Kajol

G. Kajol

The day began early for transgender entrepreneur G. Kajol as they reported for duty at 4 a.m. as polling agent of the DMK at Ward 13 booth in Principal Saranathan Hindu Corporation Elementary School on Butterworth Road.

By Friday evening, Kajol was the only voter in the third gender category. “It is a matter of honour to be designated as a polling agent. Even though most political parties have overlooked the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQIA+) community in their manifestos, we hope the new generation of leaders will help us find our feet in India,” Kajol told The Hindu.

Most transgender persons in the city are forced to rely on commercial sex work or begging to make ends meet, a situation that many community members want to change.

“Those who are educated can easily get ahead in life if they are given an opportunity to find respectable and financially secure jobs,” said Pavithra, 24, who works at a juice stall in Tiruchi and exercised their franchise in Woraiyur on Friday.

Pavithra, who has graduated from school, claimed that most employers were reluctant to appoint transgender candidates even if they meet the job requirements.

“I attended an interview for the post of a token collector at a temple and furnished all the documents, but was turned down because I am a transgender person. The incoming leadership should make it easier for the third gender to find work in any sector,” Pavithra said.

Since many transgender community members run small enterprises, they need tailormade training and financial programmes to help them sustain the business, said Sunaina, who sells traditional snacks from a mobile stall. They cast their vote at Somarasanpettai.

“There are many government schemes that are open to the marginalised sections of society, but awareness about them is low in our community. For success in the long run, we need the support of the local authorities,” Sunaina said.

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