A transgender candidate from Tamil Nadu, Ganga Nayak, has won the seat in Ward 37 in the Vellore Municipal Corporation. Her success is a big win for the trans community and her party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The results came in on Tuesday, February 22.
Nayak stood for urban local body elections of the state from Vellore and is the sole candidate from her community to have won a seat in the 2022 polls, as of now. The 49-year-old has been a DMK party member for 20 years.
Overcoming Rough Patches
A native of Vellore, Nayak was born in a family of daily wage workers. She has been associated with social work for years, which helped her gain recognition.
Besides, she also has a drama troupe, which employs 50 members, including 30 transgender persons. The troupe also held several campaigns during the pandemic, raising awareness about the virus and the vaccination. They covered several districts, including Ranipet, Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur and Thiruvannamalai, The News Minute reported.
She presently serves as the Secretary of the South India Transgender Association.
Urban Polls After 11 Years
The state held the urban local body elections after 11 years with nearly 12,838 seats in 21 municipal corporations, 138 municipalities, and 490 town panchayats. Apart from DMK, other parties have also fielded transgender candidates, including BJP and AIADMK.
AIADMK: The party has nominated Jayadevi to contest from ward 112 in the Teynampet zone of the Chennai Corporation. She has been an AIADMK member for the last 15 years.
BJP: The party has trans candidate Rajamma from ward 76 of the Thiru Vi Ka Nagar Zone in the Chennai Corporation. There are about 15 trans persons contesting the urban local body polls this year, including the independents.
Changing For The Better
Speaking to the media, trans activist Grace Banu said the inclusion of transgender members in the political is a step towards progress and will help change the outlook of political parties.
Quoting Nayak's example, Banu said that trans people had been party members for decades, but they still had to wait for their turn to contest the polls and get their due.
More Representatives Needed
The activist calls local body elections the primary step towards recognising the community or an individual, but still, it is dominated by cis people. There is a need for bigger seats to be won by transgender people, Banu added.
"There should be trans representation in the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha. We want our people to become MLAs and MPs. A way to secure trans representation is to reserve wards or areas for transgender candidates, just as DMK reserved wards for women candidates and the SC/ST community members," Banu told TNM
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