Transgender community gets political posts this poll season
NCP, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi recruit LGBTQ members in key positions, who now want a separate cell to address their issues.
The Lok Sabha elections have come as a boon for transgender activists and community members, as they have been roped in by several political parties and handed over key responsibilities in the organisations.
While Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi has appointed Disha Pinky Shaikh as a spokesperson, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) recently inducted Chandani Gore as the vice-president of its women’s cell. As they are happy over inclusivity in the political mainstream, they also want a bigger recognition in terms of gender identity in the parties.
For Gore, a social activist from Upper Indira Nagar, this move is as an achievement of her years’ worth work.
Gore, who lives in a singleroom apartment in Upper Indira Nagar, has been running three selfhelp groups in her area for womens’ benefit. Through her organisation, Nirbhaya, she also works for gender sensitization and issues faced by women. On Wednesday, she was seen busy preparing for a International Women’s Day programme. Due to all her work, she has been chosen to appoint vice-president of the NCP women’s cell. But her dreams for the community are much larger than just a political post. She said, “I would say that this is just a beginning. Since we identify as women, I was chosen in this cell. But what I want to work for is a separate transgender cell, which will address issues of the community. We have to struggle at every level.
Being part of a political party will give me the much-needed platform to address those. For instance, we want a separate ‘gharkul (housing) scheme’. We also have to struggle to get basic documents. I will work for resolving these issues.”
While Gore is busy working in the city, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s Shaikh is touring the state for her party.
The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh party worker was recently given the position of spokesperson of the Aghadi. Shaikh, a well-known social activist and poet, has begged on the traffic signals in Mumbai. She has also been visiting various cities for selling books related to the Dalit movement. Considering her understanding of the social issues and the following that she has in the state, the Aghadi leaders feel that she will be an asset for the party. The fiery activist slammed Shiv Sena leader Balasaheb Thackrey over the way he used the word “hijra”, in her maiden speech in the Aghadi rally. For Shaikh, this is an opportunity to bring issues of both the communities that she identifies with — Dalit and transgender — to the fore.
Shaikh said, “I feel that after discussions on Article 377, people have become aware of our problems and
hence political parties are trying to show that they are inclusive. But what is needed is that we should also be part of decision-making process. I am raising the transgenders’ issues from the forum I got like others.”
On the political recruitments, LGBTQ activist Shyam Konnur said, “It is necessary that there is a recognition from everyone in politics. From Reddy to Gore — we are witnessing changes. If you see the moment in US, it was the politics that brought the change. We cannot go to court for everything. We need to bring people in the decision-making process. Obviously, nothing will change overnight but some representatives being there certainly raises hopes for the change.”
Credit: By Prachee Kulkarni, Pune Mirror