The Election Commission (EC) in the Indian state of Karnataka has selected Manjamma Jogati, a transgender folk dancer, as a poll icon to encourage more members of the transgender community to register and vote. Alongside Jogati, several other individuals, including cricketer Rahul Dravid and Jnanapeeth awardee Chandrashekar Kambar, have also been chosen as poll ambassadors.
The number of registered transgender voters in Karnataka has increased significantly from 4,552 in 2018 to 42,756 in 2023. However, voter turnout among registered transgender voters was only 9.8% in the 2018 Assembly elections, although this increased to 11.49% in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The selection of Jogati as a poll icon is seen as a positive step towards greater inclusion and representation of marginalized communities in the electoral process.
About the Transgender
Transgender is a term used to describe individuals whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. While sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define males and females, gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.
Transgender individuals often experience social, legal, and medical discrimination and face significant challenges in accessing healthcare, education, employment, and other basic rights. Many countries, including India, have recognized transgender people as a third gender and have taken steps to protect their rights and welfare.
About the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 is an Indian law that seeks to protect the rights of transgender people and promote their welfare. The law was passed by the Indian parliament in November 2019 and came into effect on January 10, 2020.
- The key features of the act include recognizing transgender people as a third gender, prohibiting discrimination against them in education, employment, healthcare, and other areas, providing for their right to self-perceived gender identity, and establishing a National Council for Transgender Persons to monitor and advise on transgender-related issues.
- Critics of the law have argued that it falls short of expectations and fails to address several important concerns. They have criticized provisions that require transgender individuals to apply for a “transgender certificate” to be recognized as such and have called for stronger protections against discrimination and violence.
- Despite the criticisms, the passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 is seen as a positive step towards promoting the rights and welfare of transgender individuals in India.
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