Tamil Nadu Elections: Transperson enters poll fray for a cause

M Radha knows her chances of winning the Assembly election from Mylapore constituency are bleak.
M Radha campaigning in Pattinapakkam. (Photo | Express)
M Radha campaigning in Pattinapakkam. (Photo | Express)

CHENNAI: M Radha knows her chances of winning the Assembly election from Mylapore constituency are bleak. But the transperson, who’s contesting as an Independent, remains resolute as ever because her motive is different. She’s in the fray with the sole intention of making society safer for transpersons.

This isn’t the first time Radha has nurtured political ambitions. She contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate and managed to garner 1,042 votes. This time, she is contesting on the ‘telephone’ symbol.

“Members of my community have to suffer so much discrimination and stigma only because of their gender. By contesting the elections, I want to make the message loud and clear that we are also humans, like other males and females, and are capable of doing anything,” Radha tells Express.

Sharing her views in fluent English, the 53-year-old says she knows very well that her chances of winning the election are poor, yet she toils under the scorching sun, campaigning door-to-door in her constituency. “When people welcome me into their houses, hug me, bless me and interact politely with smiling faces, I feel all my hard work has yielded the desired result. If I am able to change the perception of some people about our community, I will be quite happy. The next time they meet a transperson, instead of ill-treating them, they will be polite,” Radha says.

She laments that people assume every transperson is either a beggar or a sex worker. But reality is different, she explains. “We are also equally capable of becoming politicians or academicians, or excelling in any other profession if we are given proper opportunities and are treated equally, like people of other genders,” says Radha, who works as a cook.

To manage her poll expenses, Radha relies on crowdfunding and support from members of her community. She says she is confident of garnering over 10,000 votes in this election, as she, flanked by a few of her community members, hops from house to house campaigning, sporting an electrifying smile.

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The New Indian Express