Only 149 of 562 transgender voters exercise franchise - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Only 149 of 562 transgender voters exercise franchise

Only 149 of 562 transgender voters exercise franchise

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, May 20

Of 562 transgenders enrolled in the state with the ECI, just 149 went to cast their vote in the General Election held here yesterday.

While in Amritsar, Jalandhar/Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur only four, seven and eight, respectively, transgenders voted, Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana and Patiala registered the most as 25, 19 and 21, respectively, exercised their franchise.

In Gurdaspur eight out of 44 persons of the community went to vote, four out of 58 in Amritsar, eight of 75 in Khadoor Sahib, seven out of 20 in Jalandhar, seven out of 30 in Hoshiarpur, 25 out of 42 in Anandpur Sahib, 19 out of 71 in Ludhiana, 10 out of 31 in Fatehgarh Sahib, 13 out of 37 in Faridkot, nine out of 35 in Ferozepur, nine out of 20 in Bathinda, nine out of 25 in Sangrur and 21 out of 74 voters in Patiala went to cast their vote.

Those who didn’t vote said discrimination, stigma and lack of empathy were the key reasons that they abstained from voting.

Despite same-sex relationships being legalised in the country, the social stigma attached with the community is keeping transgenders away from voting.

Mona Mahant, who voted on Sunday, said, “We get sympathy, but what we want is empathy. I have exercised my right to vote today because we seek inclusion in society. We want to be seen as equals. I want to be counted as one with the other sexes and voting is the first step to that.”

Ritika, a trans-activist of the city, said, “Many of the transgenders who have come out face discrimination. Many don’t even tell the world. A third gender going to vote is still rare. It’s an act of courage.”

Deepak Rana, CEO of Shan Foundation which works for the LGBT community, said, “As many as 49,000 people in the country have been identified as transgender voters. Of these 40,000 are on the voting list. Of these, 90 per cent don’t go to vote. The main reason is discrimination by society. Despite laws, there is no implementation of the rights of the transgenders. Some parties reach out to us to seek blessings, but they don’t want us to be included as an active vote bank. Many transgender activists are used as TRPs or crowd-pullers, while at the ground level our rights are denied. Transgenders mostly lives as either males or females. Out of fear, they don’t even get documentation changed. Same is the reason behind low voter turnout among transgenders. Our question when will we count?”

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