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Being a Transgender Voter in India

in INDIA, 08/03/2014

Mona Shah was adamant that the voter ID card should identify her as neither male nor female. “I kept asking for the transgender status but the authorities kept sending me back for more documents to prove my gender,” Ms. Shah, a sex worker in New Delhi said. “When they asked for a doctor’s certificate I got worried because all my official proof identifies me as male, but I wanted to tick the box that said ‘other’.”

Ms. Shah points to a recent change in Indian government policy that gives voters another choice apart from the two genders traditionally mentioned on most official forms.

The push to include what was described by activists as the most “invisibly visible and vulnerable community” as a separate group has been in the works for more than a decade, spurred by the need to address communities with different health and policy requirements, said Abhina Aher, program manager for Pehchan (Identity), a New Delhi-based health project that provides services for the gay and transgender community in India.

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