Rajahmundry: Transgenders are feeling let down by major political parties as none has off-ered any sop to them in their manifestoes in the run up to the polls in the state.
The Election Commission of India has identified transgenders as the third gender, after subjecting them to a health screening test by a district-level medical board and even allowed them to register as voters in the electoral rolls for the first time. Lack of awareness about it has resulted in several transgenders remaining unrecognised as third ge-nder and they even failed to get enrolled as voters in the electoral rolls.
Except for recent enhancement of monthly pension to Rs 3,000 per head from Rs 1,500, by the Telugu Desam government, the transgenders have allegedly got no benefit from the government.
Being critical on political parties for failing to recognise them and prov-ide any benefit, the transgenders even alleged that when they support leade-rs from one political par-ty, the leaders from the rival political party target them and instigate the lo-cal police to trouble them.
The police allegedly in turn subject them to har-assment by not allowing them to move in some pla-ces to collect alms and de-prive their source of live-lihood. Some police personnel allegedly even collected bribe from them to be lenient towards them to seek alms and involve in some other activities.
The transgenders are urging the political parties to come to their rescue and provide some he-lp, when they gain power. They want to be allocated a house site or a house, to get a loan sanctioned fro-m a bank to set up a petty shop and other welfare benefits such as ration card and health benefits.
AP State Aids Control Society is having nearly 2,000 transgenders from all over the state enrolled in it for availing a series of medical and health services while some of them take anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS. Over 2,000 transgenders remain uncovered under any government health or welfare programme.
According to an estimate, nearly 1,500 to 2,000 transgenders might have enrolled as voters under third gender category in the electoral rolls so far in the state. Though their population is miniscule and can play no significant role in the elections, they want the political pa-rties to recognise them as a community and treat them with dignity.
Vijayawada-based transgenders’ team leader, who completed her graduation in science, Archana, said: “We leave our family members and live with our community. No political party has announced any sop to us as our community is very small. We want the government to provide us with some benefits and issue directions to the police not to trouble us. We sustain ourselves by seeking alms and do not harm the society and we thank the Election authorities for recognising us as the third gender.”