Transgenders exercise franchise as ‘real citizens’

Transgenders exercise franchise as ‘real citizens’

Transgenders display their voter IDs outside a polling booth in Mangaluru on Saturday.

100 transgenders in the Dakshina Kannada district registered for voters' ID and many of them exercised their franchise at Milagres polling booth in Mangaluru, on Saturday. 

Among the 100 registered, 1 is in Belthangady, 13 in Moodbidri, 8 in Mangaluru City North, 56 in Mangaluru City South, 13 in Mangaluru, 6 in Bantwal and 3 in Puttur. 

Speaking to reporters, Sanjana, one of the transgenders, said that the right to exercise franchise has given them real “independence and freedom.” "Society had not accepted us and were shunning us away. With the EPIC card and us exercising our franchise, we have become real citizens of the country. It was Parivarthan Charitable Trust that helped us enrol for voters' ID,”  she said.

Another transgender said, “I am happy to exercise my franchise. Though I came to Mangaluru many years ago, I did not have any identity card. Now, I have voters' ID. We want the government to listen to our woes. We want a house or site so that we can lead a good and dignified life.” 

In fact, the transgender policy that aims to protect them from insults, social discrimination and abuse were finally cleared by Karnataka State Cabinet in 2017. The policy lays down measures to provide a conducive environment for transgenders to be integrated into the mainstream.