Gujarat assembly election 2017 is a special one for transgender voters. Many have/will be voting for the first time as the third gender and with a significant rise in their number on electoral count, the community is excited to cast their votes. What is expected is that the state government come up with positive policies for TG people.
As per data from the Election Commission, there has been over 250 per cent rise in registered transgender voters in the past five years — from 189 in 2012 the number has grown to 689. At 101, Ahmedabad has the highest number of registered transgender voters; Vadodara has 74, Surat 72, Anand 65 and Kheda 55.
Most of the transgender voters belong to the age group of 18-25 years as per EC data. As many as 190 transgender people were registered voters in Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat that went to polls in the first phase on Saturday.
The rise in number of transgender voters is being attributed to the Election Commission’s advocacy program and awareness drive months ahead of polls. Secondly, with the society showing greater acceptance, many transgender people are coming out of the closet and asserting their identities.
Manvi Vaishnav, who works with Vadodara-based NGO Lakshya Trust, will be voting as a female for the first time post her sex-change operation.
“Our NGO helped many transgender individuals to get their voter ID cards as third gender. Many did not have proper documents and did not know the process to get registered.
With the help of EC officials, we managed to get voter IDs for them and this time all of them are going to vote,” added Manvi.
Manvi, her co-worker Ayesha Shaikh and others had conducted advocacy drive in the city to spread awareness among transgender community in Vadodara. The community wants the state government to come up with pro-transgender policies.
The rise in the transgender population is also attributed to the landmark judgment of Supreme Court in 2014, declaring transgenders as the third gender, thus affirming the fundamental rights granted under the Constitution of India, equally.