As India election nears, officials urge trans Indians to vote

India is seeking to increase participation by its transgender citizens in the elections that are scheduled to begin April 11.

Mohini Mahant (Photo courtesy of the Indian Express)
Mohini Mahant was the first trans woman selected to preside over sessions of the National Lok Adalat, an alternative dispute-resolution court in India. (Photo courtesy of the Indian Express)
Gauri Sawant (Photo courtesy of India Times)
Transgender activist Gauri Sawant has been named an “election ambassador” with the goal of increasing trans Indians’ participation in elections. (Photo courtesy of India Times)

Although hijra, trans, and other non-binary people were given the right to register as third gender voters in 2014, only a small percentage have registered to vote.

For example, the state of Karnataka estimates their trans population is over 70,000 people, Telangana state estimates 90,000, and Gurugram state estimates over 8,000 people—yet only a few thousand have registered across all states.

For the first time the Election Commission (EC) has appointed a trans person as one of the election ambassadors for the general election.

As an ambassador, activist Shree Gauri Sawant will visit trans people, encourage them to register, and provide support at polling booths.

Additionally, the EC named trans actress and model Manipur Bishesh Huirem as a “state Icon” and activist Preeti Mahant as a “district icon” to encourage awareness and participation.

This article is based on a UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes news summary of an India Times article.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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