With the commencement of the first phase of the Lok Sabha Elections on April 11, Indians with their names of the electoral rolls have cast their precious votes in several parts of the country. The 2019 elections is a historic one in India and saw many firsts as well. Not only did many states see their first transgender candidates, but a large number of people belonging to the Transgender community are going to cast their votes for the first time.
Riyanna gets her voter ID card
While one might think that the ability to practice their franchise in India is one and absolute, they are in the wrong. 22-year-old transwoman, Riyanna from Bengaluru is all smiling, for this year’s elections would be the first time that she will be able to vote on polling day. Riyanna has reportedly been applying for a voter ID card for the past three years and it was allegedly after 11 rejections that she has been able to get her voter card. She is one among many others from the transgender community who will be exercising their franchise for the first time.
She narrated her ordeal and said that she had applied for her voter ID Card when she turned 18, however, she was rejected 11 times before she could finally get it. “Getting the voter ID itself was so difficult for me because my application was rejected because of confusion. Despite being a citizen in the country, it was so difficult for me to get the ID because I am a member of the transgender community. But that is all the more reason that it is important for more people from the community to vote,” she told The News Minute.
The 22-year-old will be voting from Bengaluru Central on polling day. Even though she had gone through the trouble to get her card, Riyanna emphasized on why it is important for everyone to vote. “Something as simple as applying for a voter card becomes so difficult and complicated when you are from the transgender community. After having my application rejected so many times, I finally approached the Shantinagar MLA and told him about the difficulty I was facing in obtaining the voter ID,” she narrated. She also said that it is important for the government to have representatives who understand the problems of the transgender community.
After the historic judgement of 2018, which scrapped Article 377, the LGBTQ community, in general, has been able to come out from the shackles of the colonial era law. However, members of the community, like Riyanna, feels that more needs to be done. She feels that major issues like that of education, housing and medical assistance need to be looked after by the government.