Transgender community threaten to boycott elections in India

All Assam Transgender Association (AATA) hold a press conference on upcoming elections (Photo: Facebook) The transgender community in the Indian state of Assam has threatened to boycott upcoming national parliamentary elections .

They want the state welfare department to implement changes to a draft policy concerning the trans community.

More than 900 million Indians will be eligible to vote in the Lower House of Parliament elections taking place in April in May.

They are the first elections since a 2014 Supreme Court ruling formally recognized transgender Indians.

Some 39,000 transgender Indians across the country have already registered under a third gender.

But, in Assam, the trans community leaders are threatening to withdraw the votes of an estimated 11,000 transgender citizens.

‘The entire community will boycott the Lok Sabha [Lower House] elections if the state government doesn’t implement the revised policy at the earliest’ Founder of All Assam Transgender Association (AATA) Swati Bidhan Baruah told a press conference on Wednesday (13 March). Outcast

The AATA called the press conference to denounce a transgender film, Outcast.

Swati Bidhan Baruah said the film ‘discriminated and sent a bad message to the society about the lifestyle of the transgenders’ according to Inesdene.

‘They are trying to make a film that hurts the feelings and emotions of the community’ Swati Bidhan Baruah told the press conference.

India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized trans identities as a third gender.

But, the community remains marginalized. Families and employers shun trans individuals.

What’s more, activists have slammed a trans rights bill currently in the Upper House of Parliament. They say it further infringes rights rather than protects them.

But, trans visibility is on the rise in India.

This week, Sneha Kale became the first Mumbai’s first-ever transgender candidate to run for the upcoming elections.

Last week, local government of one of India’s largest states, Karnataka, last week appointed its first transgender employee.

Last month, India’s first Miss Trans Queen joined one of the country’s largest political parties.

Earlier this year, the same party appointed its first transgender office-bearer.