Penn and Politics is a series where we bring you the voices of aspiring women political leaders and politicians contesting in the 2021 Assembly elections, in a move towards better representation of women in politics.
Anannyah Kumari Alex, a 28-year-old transgender woman, is contesting the 2021 Kerala Assembly elections from the Vengara constituency in Malappuram. For the past five to six years, she has been juggling multiple careers as a radio jockey, a busy make-up artist, and an anchor. She is most passionate about anchoring, she says, as she loves to interact with people, hear their stories, and learn new things.
For her, the most important cause is the equal treatment of all human beings. Having faced harassment over gender identity, she is very clear about the rights she is fighting for. And to take her fight forward, she wants to have a representation of the trans community in the Assembly.
Anannyah joined the Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP) recently. The DSJP describes itself as a party that represents people who get no reservation based on caste or religion. Anannyah says that though people allege that the party favours only the dominant caste, it has embraced her and gave her an opportunity to contest.
She speaks to TNM on running for elections the same year she’s casting her first vote and of the various issues she will be fighting for.
Why should people vote for you?
I have good leadership skills. I stand for equality of all people and I will fight tooth and nail for the cause. I will not allow anyone to be discriminated against.
What is your biggest contribution to the welfare of people so far?
I have spoken for gender rights and equality. At every chance I got, I have raised the issues of consideration for gender minorities.
Are you going to be campaigning on the strength of your party?
I am contesting as a representative of the DSJP. But that does not mean I will bury my personal politics. I will also show my strength and how qualified I am to lead the way. I will show how I can influence society. I will present the values held by the party as well as myself.
What are the top 2-3 issues in your constituency that will be your priorities after you win?
Have the previous MLAs in Vengara given space to the transgender community? Do they even know about the trans people in the constituency? I will use my professional capacity as an MLA to give space to the community. I will personally go and find out how many of them have been thrown out of home and do not have a place to go and take care of their needs. Another issue I will address is unemployment, and with that, school dropouts. I had to drop out of school in Class 12, having been harassed by everyone around me, with no support from home or friends. Education for all will be a priority for me.
You will be a legislator for the state if you win. What laws do you think need to be brought or changed?
Laws for strict action against those who harass transgender people, and laws to provide them rights to stay at their own home. Most often people from the community are thrown out. I will also bring or amend laws against moral policing. And last, if I win and get to be a Minister, I hope I could get charge of the Home Department so that once and for all, I can get the police to treat all people with respect. Let’s stop with the ‘da’s and ‘di’s.
Why do you think women and transgender persons as MLAs are important for the state?
For equal representation. Rather than letting others talk about what we need, we should be able to speak for ourselves. We should not be begging before the representatives, whom we elected, for our needs.