Even as the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment, granted legal recognition to transgenders or eunuchs, over 200 transgenders in Uttarakhand got themselves enrolled in the voters’ list in the ‘others’ category.
Asia Pacific Transgender Network founding member Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (second from left) and others express their happiness after the Supreme Court verdict, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
Earlier, they used to mention their gender as female, but now they are opting for others category. According to data of the Uttarakhand’s state Election Commission, total 224 transgenders have chosen their gender as neither male nor female, but as ‘others’ for the first time ever in the state’s history.
“Many in the transgender community enrolled under the traditional gender options. But now voters getting registered under ‘others’ is a good sign although the choice is voluntary,” said Radha Raturi, chief electoral officer of Uttarakhand.
According to the directorate of census operations, Uttarakhand, there is no official figure available on the number of transgenders residing in the state. Over 28,000 electors out of the 3 million-strong transgender community from around the country have got registered as ‘others’ so far. Though the category was introduced in the year 2012, this will be the first general elections where the community will put the option to use.
Social activist Deepa Gupta said, “Recognition is the first step towards development. There are many issues concerning the community that have not been identified and addressed so far. This move will ensure the beginning of social acceptance for them.”
For a large section of transgenders, however, the provision does not seem to have struck a chord. “The relevance of this option is beyond my comprehension. I am not sure how it will help,” state-based transgender leader Rajni Rawat told the Hindustan Times.
The buzz surrounding the forthcoming parliamentary elections also appears to have failed to catch the fancy of this community that has been at the receiving end of social discrimination.
Dehradun-based transgender Shabnam (name changed), rued how none of the political parties paid attention to their issues by saying, “We do not figure in the agendas of any of the political parties. Respect for our existence is what we seek more than the right to cast vote.”