Activists attribute the increase to the state government’s progressive acceptance of the transgender community. However, the state has a long way to go as only a tenth of the community has managed to get their names on the electoral rolls as of January 31.
“Karnataka has more than 70,000 gender minority members, including hijras, kothis, jogappas and mangalamukhis. Only around 10 per cent have voter IDs. Government officials continue to be shy even to use the word transgender,” said Akkai Padmashali, member of Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer’s website, the state has 4.46 crore voters, of which transgenders constitute less than 1 per cent. While the government has been open to issues faced by the LGBT community, allotting voter cards doesn’t solve all problems, Akkai said.