The members of the transgender community in Goa have been using their male voter identity cards to cast their votes until now. The Supreme Court declared the transgender community as the third gender in 2014. However, some of them have been assigned with their voter ID cards just now. Seven people from South Goa and two from North Goa enrolled themselves in the electoral rolls under the third gender after being motivated by an initiative of Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ), an organization that works to combat human trafficking.
Community Members Were Hesitant Because Of The Taboo
The Times of India (ToI) quoted the 45-year-old Heena saying, "It is every person's right to vote, and we are entitled to choose the leader of our choice as well". They further added that their community was happy to be included. Arun Pandey, the director of the ARZ Foundation, also said that people were hesitant for years regarding the taboo associated with their identity. "We made them understand that being recognized as the third gender opens an avenue for them to exercise their rights and also claim several schemes that they are entitled to", He added.
Aware Of Rights, Still Struggling To Make Ends Meet
Since people from the community would vote under their recognized gender for the first time, they also discuss the most suitable candidate who would understand their concerns. Moreover, the community is hopeful that with changing times, they will eventually be able to exercise their rights like the rest of the citizens. Therefore, the foundation is motivating the people to come forward and avail their voter IDs. They mentioned that while a significant number of transgender people from the community are educated and understand their rights, they still struggle to make ends meet. Similarly, there are others who still sleep on the roads and deserve recognition.