‘Nation First Voting First’, was an event organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Lucknow University on 19 April with the purpose of making the people of the third gender community more conscious about their voting rights and electoral processes.
About 6000 transgenders reside in Lucknow and out of them only around 150 have their voter ID cards. Payal, the president of the Lucknow Kinnar Society, who was also in attendance claimed that the system is rigged against them and this denies them of their constitutional rights. The third gender has the right to vote but the process to get themselves enrolled for it reduces the opportunities of transgenders to exercise it.
For transgenders, the process to attain a voter ID almost always ends up in nothing. When they try to acquire their voter cards, they are asked by the municipality officers to get their ID proofs. Many transgenders don’t have any and neither do they have an idea about their origin or their date of birth. This explains why in a city like Lucknow out of a total of 6000 only 150 transgenders have voter cards.
Even though in 2014, the government had created a new tier for the third gender to vote under, the process that enabled it was still perceived as confusing.
Payal also emphasised on the need for the government to look at ways of improving and designing a new system for obtaining a voter id so that the transgender community can exercise their rights in a hassle free manner.