KOZHIKODE: It is for the first time that the electoral roll for the Kerala Assembly elections has a 'third gender' option. Only two people in the state- one each in Nattika and Thrikkakara assembly segments- have registered under the third gender category in the voters list.
As per the 2011 census, there are 3,902 transgenders in the state. Following the 2014 SC judgement that granted legal recognition to transgenders as 'third gender', the EC had given 'other gender' option in the local body polls in 2015. That elections saw 82 transgenders registering in the electoral roll. However, the EC replaced ‘other gender’ with ‘third gender’ for the assembly polls. " This doesn't mean that transgenders are not exercising their voting rights. Many might have registered their names either as male or female," said an official. Sheethal Shyam, a transgender and social activist from Thrissur, said that the reason for low enrolment under the third gender category is the lack of clarity in the enrolment process. Meanwhile, Harrisan Xavier, Additional CEO said that the poor enrolment under the third gender category is dueto the technical issues.