Running as an independent candidate in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, 53-year-old Bharathi Kannamma is perhaps the first transgender to vie for a seat in the parliament. This comes days after the Supreme Court recognised transgender as a ‘third gender’.
In the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday, the judge said a person can be legally recognised as gender-neutral, and transgenders should be included in government welfare schemes offered to other minority groups. Kannamma, will be contesting for an Assembly seat from Madurai South.
Kannamma, who came out in 2004 as a transgender has been fighting for the rights of transgender people since 2004. However, her current campaign — which she is running on a very tight budget — focusses on various other issues too. For example, she hopes to turn Madurai into a model city by developing the city’s infrastructure and ridding its systems of corruption. Kannama has contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Madurai Constituency. Her nomination for Lok Sabha in 2019 was however, rejected.
Kannama who holds a Doctorate in Sociology, said, “We (transgender) have no family so we will not be corrupt. So, I appeal to the people of Tamil to vote for me.”
She announced that she will offer a government job per family after she becomes an MLA. "I will provide one government job to every family once I win in the elections. Everyone will get ration enough for 3 meals a day. I will come up with a restaurant plan," she told a news agency. She added that medical assurance will be provided if she is voted as MLA for the Madurai South assembly seat.
While campaigning in Arani constituency in Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu, on Sunday Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that a new district with Arani as its headquarters will be created.
Meanwhile, Anannyah Kumari Alex from Vengara, a candidate of the Democratic Social Justice Party, will be contesting the elections from the Vengara constituency in the Malappuram district. Ananya will be contesting against PK Kunhalikutty, the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) candidate and P Jiji, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate for the seat.
Ananya, who is perhaps Kerala's first transgender radio jockey, said she hopes to make history in the polls and represent people who are sidelined.