‘Why are Our Issues Missing from Your Election Manifestos?’: Transgender Community Seeks to Know from Political Parties

‘Why are Our Issues Missing from Your Election Manifestos?’: Transgender Community Seeks to Know from Political Parties

Kanpur-based Queer Foundation is demanding respect and equality in society.

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh): Queer Welfare Foundation, a Kanpur-based organization of transgender persons, is demanding more representation and rights for the LGBTQ+ community in the city ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Awareness and acceptance of the community in the society and job opportunities in civic bodies are among its major demands. The group is holding events such as the ‘Queer Gaurav Yatra’ and ‘Transgender Voter Awareness Campaign’.

As the polls are approaching, the third gender community wants the candidates in fray to promise a platform for its development and integration into society. These include an open environment for transgenders to live in society and job opportunities in civic bodies.

Anuj Pandey, founder of the Kanpur Queer Welfare Foundation, told The Mooknayak, "I have been in the city for the last 15 years. Politics dominates every sector. I have been working for my community since 2018 at the grassroots level through my NGO. And I feel proud for the same. In most places, we do not get the same respect as that of common people. I want to vote for the party, which supports our community and is committed to work for the betterment of the country. Political leaders easily ignore our concerns. They perhaps forget that it is their duty to ensure every section of the society gets its due rights.”

He further said despite being educated, a number of members of his community are not getting employment.

“We are forced to beg and work as sex workers. We are hoping that our MPs will give us a platform where we can grow more and make our place in society,” he said.

Pandey explained, “The politics in the country revolves around casteism, religious conversion, etc. There is very little discussion about rights, reservation and security. Neglected and marginalized communities are assured of solutions to their problems, but these turn out to be mere lip service. The LGBTQ+ community has not seen any significant discussion or action on issuing voting cards to transgender women.”

He said there has been no success even today in registering the total number of LGBTQ+ persons as voters. Despite the growing number of the community, he said, its presence remains elusive even in official records. A society, according to him, does not include women and men. 

“All genders must be acknowledged and respected as their collective efforts make a society prosperous, successful and cultured. It is imperative for social workers and political leaders to practice inclusivity and work for the betterment of all,” he said.

Pandey said transgender persons are remembered when election comes. The community’s rights are only restricted to votes. “Successive governments have failed us; even today, we have to go to court for our basic needs of employment and housing,” he complained.

He said if the Congress brings a law, as it has promised, to recognize unions between couples belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, it will be a big decision for the community. 

“We have been fighting for a long time that gay marriage should be recognized. Why did the party not think about our community in the past 60 years? Has the promise been made with an aim to woo the LGBTQIA+ community and secure its votes? Are we just vote banks for politicians?” he asked.

He said the situation of the LGBTQIA+ community is the same all these years, it is struggling a lot.

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