Tamil Nadu: Transgenders Have To Identify Themselves As Male Or Female To Contest Poll
Identity Of Transgenders Required For Contesting Elections
Two years back, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court created the “third gender” status for hijras or transgenders. It was the first time when the third gender got a formal recognition. A new law has again come into light for the transgender community. There is now no bar on the transgender community to contest in local polls due next month. It is an odd situation in Tamil Nadu since the members have to identify themselves in nomination papers as “male” or “female”. The reasons for being identified as male or female is because there is no provision in the papers for the community and the prefix “Thiru/Thirumati/Selvi” is mentioned for prospective candidates, as reported by The Hindu.
“It is unacceptable and we are planning to oppose this stipulation. Who are they to tell us where we belong to?, “ ask Grace Banu, chairperson of the Centre for Trans, a five-year-old body working in the area of rights of the community. 4,598 electors have registered themselves under the category of “Third Gender”, as per the rolls published by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on September1, 2016 which were further adopted by State Election Commission(SEC).
SEC pleads helplessness and explains that they follow essentially what has been laid down by the ECI. “It is upto them to call themselves as “male” or “female” . If they want to identify themselves as “female”, they can enter the electoral fray in those seats reserved for women. There is no compulsion. For the time being, I am unable to go beyond the present position.”, says P.Seetharaman, State Election Commissioner.
“There is no prefix for names of the contestants in the nomination papers submitted by candidates for elections to Lok Sabha or State Assemblies.” says an official of ECI as reported by The Hindu. The transgender community feels that there must be quota in legislature with a similar scheme in education and employment.” states Banu.