Earlier, a trans person had to choose the gender identity as either male or female since there was no column for transgender persons.

In a first voters in Kerala could choose transgender as gender identitySreekesh Raveendran Nair
news Gender Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 13:05

Fifteen transgender persons came to vote for the Lok Sabha elections at the Fort School in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday morning. Some of them have voted in previous elections but that was after ticking the column of either male or female. For the first time now, voters in Kerala could identify themselves as transgender persons in their electoral cards.

“Earlier, trans men had chosen the gender identity of male and trans women had chosen the column of female. But for the first time a third column was given as an option, and quite a few trans people have chosen their gender identity as transgender. About 40 trans people should have voted from the state this time,” says Sreekutty, who is state president of Sexual and Gender Minority Federation, and also part of the Oasis Cultural Society, an organisation for the welfare of trans persons in Thiruvananthapuram. It is the Oasis address that some of those 15 transgender persons used in their ID cards as the address to register, having been driven away from their homes, Sreekutty adds.

Sreekutty’s gender identity in the voter’s card is female, and that’s because she chose it to be. “The Supreme Court had in 2014 recognised the right to self-identify as transgender. I chose my identity as female, and there are trans men who chose the identity of male among us. But we had been asking the government to include a third column for the transgender identity ever since a transgender policy was passed by the State in 2015. And the government has helped in sorting out all the legal issues,” Sreekutty says.

The Social Justice Department has earlier issued transgender identity cards to the community and this could be used as document proof for the new voter cards, Sreekutty adds. However, it was earlier criticised for having transgender as mandatory option for the gender column, not letting individuals self-identify.


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