Only 2,557 of 58K Trans Persons are Registered Voters in Telangana
Hyderabad: The final electoral rolls for the Assembly elections show that there are 2,557 transgender voters in Telangana, which is 328 less than the 2018 figure of 2,885. The final list translates to 0.00806% of the total voters in the state. According to the 2014 Samagra kutumba survey (SKS) data, 58,918 transgender individuals reside in Telangana.
In 2018, out of 2,885 transgender voters, only 260 cast their votes. Besides social stigma, they claimed that the tedious process of furnishing documents to validate a transgender person's identity was another reason for the low enrollment in the voters list.
“We remain ignored except during elections. No political party has mentioned anything about welfare schemes for our community in their manifestos. No schemes, no reservations, no pensions, no facilities, nothing at all for us. Many of us do not even have Aadhaar and ration cards,” says Oruganti Laila, icon of Telangana State Election Commission.
She was hopeful that the percentage of voters from the community would increase because of the recent voting awareness initiatives through short films and advertisements.
While Warangal East accounted for the highest number of transgender voters at 338, Bhongir, Devarkadra and Dubbak were yet to open their accounts.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, the 43-year-old founder of Modern Awareness Society, an NGO, said, “There are welfare schemes for women, children and other sections but there is nothing for our community. We have a population of more than one lakh (officially it is around 60,000), but we are ignored. Our community is meant only to tick the transgender checkbox in the voter column.”
“Awareness through ‘Itsme Sneha’ YouTube channel, which has around 2.45 lakh subscribers and has created around 349 videos on transgender people is yielding fruitful results,” Laila said.
The transgender persons’ rights activist said, “My effort would be to get more transgender persons enrolled as voters in Telangana. But at the same time, it is also the responsibility of the government to address issues impacting our community. It is through the Telangana Transgender Welfare Board, launched in 2022, that the community is voicing its aspirations.”
Laila, who holds a PG degree in sociology from Kakatiya University, said that it was only in 2014 that the transgender column was incorporated in electoral rolls, prior to which they were identified as regular male or female voters depending on their choice.