Low voter enrolment by the third gender
Visakhapatnam: Despite awareness camps, the response from the third gender community to voter registration in parts of Andhra Pradesh has been lukewarm. As of Friday, around 3.69 crore voters, including 1.86 crore female, 1.83 crore male and 3,761 third gender in Andhra Pradesh are eligible to exercise their franchise in the 2019 general elections that will see 175 MLAs and 25 MPs chosen.
The third gender, which includes transgender and eunuchs, is yet to get proper inclusion in the voters’ list in Andhra Pradesh.
The electoral list says that only 3,761 are in the third gender category.
The number of transgenders in Andhra Pradesh is above 60,000 and most have been residing in big cities and towns for livelihood. Due to problems in getting recognition as the third gender, a majority of the community is compelled to register itself as either male or female, says Deepika, a transgender. Apart from the recognition, social taboo is one more reason for the transgender to not naming itself as the third gender, Deepika added.
However, electoral registration officers say that people of the transgender community are supposed to enclose an authorized certificate to get registered as the third gender. The lengthy process makes some reluctant to register and hence they do not show much interest in voter enrolment.
Naveena, a transgender from Visakhapatnam South assembly segment, said, “In our community, very few are tech-savvy and familiar with the internet. ”
Sources said in the 2014 general elections transgenders were regarded as the third gender after the Election Commission of India recognised them as ‘others’ in the voter list.
The TDP government formed a police in 2017 under Transgender Policy to provide Rs 1,500 per month to each transgender as a social security pension.