New Delhi: It is a forgotten community and an almost forgotten vote bank, but nearly 1 lakh transgenders will be voting in Delhi on December 4. They have just one basic demand, that is to be treated equally.
Delhi's transgender community is fighting to be recognised as the third sex. The Delhi government has given them voting rights but in a category called Others.
"I am no 'other'. I am not a tree, I am not a bus, I am not a train, a dog or a cat. I am a person. I want my identity. I am a transgender, a hijra," said Noori.
They want their rights including the right to be employed. "It is impossible to apply for a government job. In private sector, we work 3 to 4 months and are made to quit," said Purva. "Even on the job application form, the government has no option for us to apply," Nisha added.
The Delhi government had in fact announced a monthly assistance of Rs 1,000 for the transgender community in March this year. There is also a pension scheme similar to what the BJP led MCD had announced a few years ago. But according to them, these facilities are inaccessible.
"There are so many documents we have to produce to prove hat we are transgender that it becomes impossible to access any scheme," said Purva.
There's also the question of safety and protective laws. "In the Damini case, even today there are candle light marches at Jantar Mantar for her. We transgenders are subject to rape everyday, get beaten on the roads, but no one cares," said Ritika.
While most political parties have included transgender issues in their manifestos, the big question is whether they will vote this election season. "Whoever gives us voter ID, passport, pan card, ration card, we'll support that party," said Noori.