As many as 4,433 persons have enrolled themselves in the category of ‘others’ in the final list of voters in the state as published by the office of the chief electoral officer. The figure relating to those who wished to be attributed as neither male nor female have tremendously risen from a 2,987 recorded as on March last year.
The ‘others’ category, effectively pertaining to those who call themselves ‘transgenders’ had only about 2,089 persons in January last year. Meanwhile, according to figures available with the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), there are over 20,000 transgenders in Hyderabad city and about 2.4 lakh across the state.
The increase in the number of registrations in other category, experts and activists say, is due to increased awareness among the community to gain themselves a place in the vote bank. Officials at the CEO’s office say that the figures accumulated from districts across the state gives only the number of voters who did not want to be placed either in the male or female category.
‘’The category was introduced by the Election Commission in 2010 and the numbers from across the state in this category have been on the rise. This means more people are now willing to be termed neither male nor female,” said an official.
According to final draft of the electoral rolls revision, a total of 6,23,88,619 electors in the state, namely 3,13,56,704 males and 3,10,27,482 females have enrolled themselves apart from 4,433 in ‘others’ category for the upcoming general elections.
Sudha Rani Challa, an independent researcher on sexual lifestyles,says, transgenders want to be heard and would be proud to have this recognition for themselves in election voter ID cards.
No vote campaign
Shane, a BPO employee in the city, who is proud of being a transgender is even mulling a ‘No Vote Campaign’. ‘’We may be a minority but after the Supreme Court judgment, everything is left to the Parliament. We want to give our vote only to those who support our cause,” said Shane, adding that the road ahead for them was to make themselves heard.