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Number of transgender people enrolled to vote doubles in India

Number of transgender people enrolled to vote doubles in India

Akkai Padmashali stands on stage in a pink sari holding microphone and smiling

Bangalore a state in the south of India has seen a double in transgender voters.

Efforts to improve the lives of trans people and raise awareness about their human rights has been credited for the jump in voter numbers.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) confirmed 4,552 trans people are registered to vote in Bangalore. That number is double than the most recent elections.

One of the new registered voters is high profile trans activist Akkai Padmashali. She was able to register as a female voter for the first time in her life.

Padmashali founded Ondede, an organisation dedicated to sexual minority rights and was one of the first trans people to marry in India.

‘We had an interaction with the Election Commission, asking for awareness programmes for the community,’ she told The Hindu.

‘The commission took up the initiative. From Ondede, we too have organised awareness programmes in coordination with the EC.’

Padmashali recently grabbed the world’s attention when she asked former US President Barack Obama how she could fight the criminalization of homosexuality in India.

‘I am a criminal,’ she started her question to Obama.

Now they have to get out and vote

Advocates said while the increase in enrolments was great, trans people had to feel safe enough to actually go out and vote.

One trans person said they had faced ridicule and discrimination when they went to vote in previous elections.

‘I have had this experience while waiting in queues. People pass uncalled for comments,’ Anuradha told the Hindu.