Dismantle barriers, challenge stereotypes, clarion call in South Delhi's LS Polls

| | New Delhi
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Dismantle barriers, challenge stereotypes, clarion call in South Delhi's LS Polls

Friday, 12 April 2024 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

Dismantle barriers, challenge stereotypes, clarion call in South Delhi's LS Polls

Unfazed by political stalwarts like Ramvir Singh Bidhuri from the BJP and Sahiram Pehlwaan of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Rajan Singh, a trans person, has thrown his hat into the political arena as an independent candidate to vie for the South Delhi Parliamentary seat. This constituency boasts a diverse electorate, spanning from affluent neighborhoods to urban slums.

“There are 130 registered transgenders in my constituency. But I am confident of garnering over 10,000 votes from my supporters. This will be just the beginning. I want to tell the political parties that we too can be vote catchers irrespective of our orientation. At the end of the day work matters,” Singh asserted as he aimed to advance political empowerment for the transgender community.

He underscored the urgent need to dismantle barriers, challenge stereotypes, and ensure that the voices of all, irrespective of gender identity, are accorded respect in politics.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, 25-year-old Singh’s candidacy however marks a historic milestone as the first instance of a third-gender individual contesting in Lok Sabha elections. Delhi has its first transgender Councillor as Bobby Kinnar, an AAP candidate who won Sultanpuri ward in 2022.

Originally hailing from Chapra in Bihar, and raised in Delhi, Rajan Singh boasts of achievements like receiving the President’s National Bravery Award for saving a child. He’s not new to politics. He Served as Joint Secretary after winning elections at Aryabhatta College in Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) as an independent candidate in 2016-17.

“Life has not been very easy for me since childhood. My book, ‘Mera Kya Kasoor’ (What is My Fault), delves into my journey and the challenges I’ve faced,” he added. “I want to use my experiences to educate and empower the transgender community.”

Rajan Singh remains undaunted by the prospect of losing his security deposit amidst the presence of political heavyweights. For him, he say, more important is to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, particularly transgender individuals who confront systemic marginalization not only in politics but also in various facets of life. “My slogan is ‘By voting we will become Chief Ministers and Prime Ministers, by studying we will become Superintendent of Police (SP) and District Magistrate (DM).’ “

The 2011 census has pegged the total transgender population in India at 487,203. However, as per the latest Election Commission data, the registered transgender voters for the 2019 elections stand at only around 40,000 – a mere ten per cent of their total population. In 2014, the Election Commission, for the first time, recognized transgenders as the “third gender” following a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. Yet, of the total 28,527 registered transgender voters, only 1,968 exercised their right to vote in that year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Singh posed a pertinent question, “Where are the rest?” It is evident that they are disenchanted, irrespective of which party triumphs, he added and pointed out that despite some strides forward, such as the recent appointment of the first transgender judge and the establishment of exclusive OPDs at RML Hospital in Delhi along with dedicated toilets for the transgender community in the national capital, struggle for equal opportunities and rights nationwide continue.

“Marginalised transgenders in the country are in need of its identity. Given that every national party and their leaders have closed all the doors for us, I will open all the doors for my community once I reach Parliament.”

He, however, underscored that not everyone is apathetic; many empathize with their plight. Singh cites his college history teacher, who understood his sexual orientation and encouraged him to persevere in his studies to silence detractors.  “During my DUSU election also, I won by a good number of votes. Clearly, many students were keen to ensure my victory. These elections will be no different,” he exuded confidence.

As he embarks into new political journey, Rajan Singh’s agenda encompasses key initiatives, including the establishment of a Transgender Commission at the national level to safeguard rights and address discrimination, at least one seat to be nominated for transgender in Parliament, implementation of separate queues for important services to mitigate harassment and discrimination, and nationwide advocacy efforts to put the transgender issues on the social landscape.

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