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A majority of people in the transgender community in India are not voting in elections

Meka Beresford February 5, 2017
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Indian transgender activists take part in a protest against the Trangenders Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 at Dharna Chowk in Hyderabad on August 26, 2016. (Getty)

Hundreds of transgender people in India are missing out on the election process because they do not have sufficient ID.

A set of figures released by the Election Commission of India has shown that just 4% of the trans community are enrolled in voter lists.

Only 1,654 people are on the lists of Maharashtra, a fraction of the 41,000 trans people that have been identified by the 2011 census.

“This is abysmally low considering the fact that a dozen hijras roam around Mumbai and Thane,” an election official told DNA India.

Activists have taken aim at the Election Commission for a lack of effort to promote the electoral role to the trans community.

“The poll body must involve the transgender community in the enrolment process. Since most hijras don’t have a proper home and many of them lack Aadhaar and other ID cards, they would remain out of the EC’s campaign,” said campaigner Harish Iyer.

“Since the right wing government has not been supportive of this community, government agencies are unlikely to go the extra mile to cover the third gender,” Iyer added.

Other activists are blaming poor relations between the government and trans people for the low turn out.

“Most of us think our fate is not going to be changed even if we vote. That is why we are so reluctant,” said Suhana, a 40-year-old hijra who has never voted in Indian elections.

Some fear that the actual figures from the census are skewed and the actual population of the trans community could be much larger. This is because the “third gender” status was only created in 2014, and prior to that trans people were forced to write the gender assigned at birth.

Related topics: Asia, ID, India, India, LGBT, Politics, Social, Trans, Transgender

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