‘Political parties continue to sideline transgender persons’

Over the past two days, Sherin has been busy pasting posters in her ward. She will begin her  campaign officially on November 14 after filing the nomination.

Published: 17th November 2020 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2020 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

LGBTQ, Gay, lesbian, LGBT, transgender, pride parade

Representational image. (Photo | Pushkar V)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The transgender community is upset over the fact that even after much social acceptance they continue to be sidelined in the selection of candidates for the three-tier local body elections. So far, the names of only two candidates -- Sherin Antony and K Sneha, as independents -- have been announced from the transgender community. They are contesting from the 26th division of Kochi corporation and the 36th division of Kannur corporation respectively.

Surya, a popular television actor and a member of the State Board for Transgender Justice, told TNIE that the political parties have not kept their promises when it comes to including them in electioneering.
“The parties’ support for our community remains on paper. We realise that we are still prevented from coming to the forefront of politics. Transgenders continue to face gender discrimination. I do understand that the respective political fronts have to give a few seats to the allies. But at least a few seats should be earmarked for us by all political parties,” said Surya.   

The KPCC received accolades from various walks of life when it recently formed a transgender cell  -- the Kerala Pradesh Transgender Congress (KPTC). Over the past few days, speculation has been rife that 20-year-old Arunima Zulfiker, the president of KPTC, is likely to be fielded from either Mararikulam or Kanjikuzhy wards of Alappuzha district. But Arunima’s candidature is yet to be announced officially by the Alappuzha DCC.

While KPTC had demanded 30 seats across the state to contest in the local body elections, things are not as easy as it sounds for its members as the respective DCC presidents are having a hard time liaising with their local ward leaders, a majority of whom are not keen on giving away seats which they have been nursing for decades.

“When the DCC urges them to give seats to the transgender community, there is friction within the local leaders. However, there are no qualms against the transgender community as such because the social stigma is a thing of the past,” said a DCC president.

Sherin Antony, 21, is contesting from her home division of Beach Road, Nazareth, under the Kochi corporation. Though Sherin is the president of the Kerala Democratic Transgender Federation, which owes is allegiance to the Left, she is contesting as an independent candidate.

“In a way, I am creating history by becoming the first transgender contestant in the three-tier local body elections as an independent candidate. Political parties have been avoiding us, though they try to claim that we should be brought to the forefront of the society. Or else why should I contest as an independent candidate now? My family comprising my mother, older brother and grandmother are happy that I am contesting,” Sherin said.

Over the past two days, Sherin has been busy pasting posters in her ward. She will begin her  campaign officially on November 14 after filing the nomination.


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