Transgender Devi to take on Jayalalithaa

Echoing her party’s agenda, she says that she will work to "uproot the Dravidian parties and the Congress from Tamil Nadu."

April 07, 2016 12:00 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:55 pm IST - CHENNAI:



Thirty-three-year-old transgender C. Devi, who will be contesting from the high-profile R.K. Nagar constituency on a Naam Tamilar Katchi ticket, insists that she is as worthy of being called a ‘Mother’ as the incumbent Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

“The CM often says that she doesn’t have a family of her own. What about me? I have really not had anyone for support throughout my life,” she says, drawing on some of the recent speeches of Ms. Jayalalithaa.

She goes on to explain her logic for making that statement.

“Through Thai-Madi , a trust I began in Salem, I am trying to take care of under-privileged kids and elderly. I will work to end poverty and strive to educate my community. That way, I am really worthy of being called a Mother.”

Given the debate around the political participation of members of the transgender community, she makes it clear that she was not given a seat by her party just because she belongs to the third gender.

“I have worked with Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi ever since the party was floated. I empathise with the cause of Eelam Tamils and care about the general well-being of Tamils. I will strive to provide quality education and health care in the constituency,” she says.

She asks, “Why should men and women alone decide the fate of our country? The third gender must also have a say in the affairs of the country, is it not?” Though she wants to win her seat, she insists that people must see the larger picture. “If this triggers a change in how political parties view the community, I will be happy.” Echoing her party’s agenda, she says that she will work to “uproot the Dravidian parties and the Congress from Tamil Nadu.”

Whenever she is asked about facing off with one of the most powerful politicians in Tamil Nadu, she points out that she would be competing not just against the incumbent CM Jayalalithaa but also against other candidates in the fray. Weighing in on the debate whether members of the transgender community qualify for taking on big roles in the political arena, Apasara Reddy, another transgender who was a print and television journalist before joining the BJP, points out that marginalised communities must be welcomed into politics and not be forced to prove their credentials.

“If the question was put to them about a Dalit woman or someone from the tribal community joining a party, they would have sent good wishes but when it comes to transgenders why pose a barrier? The Constitution requires everyone to go through an electoral process to become an MLA or an MP. We don't need Congress leader Khushbu stressing on it,” she says.

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