Indian trans candidate campaigns for pensions, ration cards and voter ID for her community

Chandni becomes second transgender candidate standing in the Karnataka state election on 5 May

17 April 2013

A second transgender candidate has joined the campaign for the Karnataka state legislative assembly election on 5 May.

Chandni, 35, registered nomination papers to stand in the Narasimharaja constituency just a day before today’s deadline.

‘Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa had promised to provide pension for the community. But it hasn’t materialized till date,’ said Chandni, Deccan Herald reports.

As well as pensions, Chandni is campaigning for ration cards, ID numbers to receive state benefits (Aadhaar) and voter ID cards for the transgender (hijra) community, who are often rejected by their families so lack that support system.

Chandni said there were around 10,000 hijras in the district who are hoping that she can improve their standing in society. She said she wants to give employment opportunities to hijras so they can leave their traditional lives of begging behind.

Chandni had been planning to stand as an independent candidate in a recent local election but withdrew when she learned that the ward was reserved for disadvantaged castes. She said that the state had not given transgender people any such arrangement to ensure they have better representation in politics.

Last week Gay Star News reported that Soumya, another trans woman, is standing for election on a platform of transgender rights in the Karnataka election.

‘We are treated as castaways as we don’t have family support and no means to support ourselves,’ said Soumya.

Across the country in Tamil Nadu, transgender writer Priya Babu spoke at a Transgender Day organized by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association.

‘What transgenders primarily need now is acceptance from their respective families and the society,’ said Babu, The Hindu reports.

‘We are still awaiting a proper government order that gives us a proper identity.’ 

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