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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 9:03 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 9:03 AM (IST)

58 eligible transgenders, only 4 actual voters

Community members blame social stigma and lack of awareness for dismal response

PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22

The district has 58 transgender voters but only four of them turned out to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls held on May 19. Apart from the social stigma attached with the community, lack of awareness is also responsible behind their disinterest in the voting process.

During polling, when this correspondent tried to interact with a couple of community members, they refused to talk. They refused to get themselves clicked. Also family members of a few claimed that the transgender this correspondent was trying to talk to was a male in actuality and that it was some printing error on his voter card.

A transgender, preferring anonymity, said, “Though it is necessary for the community members to come forward and participate in the festival of democracy for efficiently raising voice for their rights, the stigma attached to the community deters them. Moreover, there are minimal efforts from the chief election office or the government to make them aware and bring them to the polling booths.”

They should organise massive campaigns for the community so that they arrive to polling booths without any hesitation, he said.

Another young community member, when tried to share his views, his family members raised objections. They asserted that it was some printing error on his voter card and that he was a male. The incident also pointed out that many transgenders cast their votes by hiding their third genders.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer Shivdular Singh Dhillon said, “Though the overall voting has declined, at least four transgenders turning up to vote is a good sign. More than the district administration, it is for the society to create such an environment where they should not feel discriminated or marginalised.”

The DC pointed out that Amritsar had came first in organising awareness campaigns under SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) mission.


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