In a historic moment for the transgender community in Kerala, two persons of the third gender recently voted in the assembly elections.
Surya, a mimicry artist and Suji, the only two to be listed as third gender in the state electoral roll, said this was an exciting moment for them as the society has acknowledged their community. This is the first time that third gender figures in the state electoral roll.
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Hailing from the state capital, Surya, a known mimicry artist in comedy shows in television channels, exercised her franchise at a booth in Vattiyoorkkavu constituency here while Suji voted in Nattika in Thrissur. Expressing happiness over it, Surya, once a man who underwent a sex-change surgery and became a woman a year ago, said it was significant moment not only for her but also for every transgender in the state.
I am extremely happy. I consider my vote as a proof for the society’s recognition of the transgender society, she told reporters.
She also expressed hope that more transgenders would come out and obtain their voters identity cards to exercise their voting rights in the coming elections. I am excited to cast vote as a third gender, Suji said.
There has been an increase in the number of transgenders voting in the Assembly elections this time. While the final number of the third gender who cast their vote was not immediately available, activists said the awareness campaigns were a step in the positive direction. The Election Commission of India started allowing voters to register as “other” on their IDs in 2012 .
The transgender community has been protesting a recent decision by India’s Supreme Court to reinstate a colonial-era law banning gay sex, which they say will re-expose them to harassment from the police and ostracize them.