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‘Indifferent approach of political parties causing sufferings of transgenders’

Saturday, 22 January 2022 | Purnima Bisht | Dehradun

Due to the apathetic approach of the political parties towards the issues of transgenders or the third gender, many people continue to suffer across the state and are forced to live as either male or female to lead a normal daily life. This was the opinion of many transgenders who stated that though the government has given them a tag of the third gender, they do not get treated the same way by the political parties. According to the recent data of the election commission, only 301 people are registered as third gender voters in the state. Many opined that it is due to the fact that many transgenders find it easy to survive while maintaining their gender as either a male or female in documents.

Sagar Dogra, a transgender who also works for the welfare of the transgender community in the state said that in many welfare schemes like for the labour card registration, the government has provided only male or female options in the application form to be filled by the potential beneficiary. Since many transgenders want the benefits under the scheme like others, they choose male or female. Dogra said, “Political parties talk about providing good health services, employment and education opportunities to men and women but they often fail to mention the third gender. This is the case in almost every election. The situation has certainly improved in the past two decades but the parties need to pay more attention to the concerns of our people.” A 26- year old transgender who wished to remain anonymous said that the political parties do not pay attention to their issues because they do not consider them as a viable vote bank like the other two genders. She said, “I do not know the exact number of transgender people in the state but it is certainly in thousands. I know many trans people who do not have their voter identity card as they say, nothing ever changes for them. The political parties do not even care enough to start campaigns to reach the maximum number of people of the community to get votes as they include nothing for their welfare in their manifestos.  Many politicians perhaps do not even know the difference between a transman, transwoman or eunuch. Do they know the struggle to get regular jobs in the state for a transgender person? I know many transgender people who joined the groups of eunuchs who mostly perform at people’s homes on special occasions like weddings to earn their living. I want the political parties to focus on providing education and employment opportunities which they offer to other genders.”

The founder of the Forgiveness Foundation Society, Pawan Sharma who also works for the welfare of the transgender community stated that the third gender has to suffer several prejudices in daily life that refrain many from revealing their true identity in society. “Many trans people have told me that authorities consider them prostitutes if they find them to be going somewhere at late night.  They do not even consider their transgender identity cards to be genuine and ask them to strip their clothes to prove themselves. This is the level of humiliation they have to go through often. Many transgenders work as a male or a female in offices because they find it easier to merge among the crowd rather than garnering unwanted attention from others. I want the political parties to raise awareness among the people about the transgender community after they win elections and make it a normal place for them to live and thrive,” stated Sharma.

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