<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Armed with a voter I-card that recognises her as a transgender and empowers her as an Indian citizen, Amita Kumari’s struggle to be part of the political process — by posing as either a man or a woman — are finally over.Along with her, more than 100 transgenders in Gautam Budh Nagar district, in western Uttar Pradesh, are getting ready to vote for the first time in their lives when the Assembly polls Are held next month. And they are exultant.“Now, I have got a voter card which identifies me as a transgender. Now, I feel I am also part of the critical electoral decision making,” said the 21-year-old.It’s a victory not just for her and other transgenders in Gautam Budh Nagar, many of them living in dimly-lit homes in their village Hoshiyarpur in Noida’s Sector 51, but for millions caught in the gender binary and struggling to claim an identity of their own.For Amita and others, it began with Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate NP Singh approaching Basera, an organisation that works for the welfare of the transgenders, and suggesting that members of the community enrol for voter IDs before the elections.“We held two meetings with them and informed them about their rights and responsibilities in a democracy,” said Singh.The district officials also emphasised the concept of equality.It wasn’t a smooth sailing. Many transgenders didn’t have Aadhaar or ration cards. The fact is, activists say, there has been little on the implementation front even after the Supreme Court ‘NALSA judgment’ in 2014, which recognised the third gender and asked the government to design affirmative action policies for the transgender community. “We are considered citizens of this country only when election appears for the votes we hold,” said 22-year-old Vinita Kumari.
Jump to original: