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Kerala Election 2021: Transgenders Can Be Better Leaders, Says Lone TG Candidate Anannyah Kumari Alex

Anannyah Kumari Alex (ANI Image)

Anannyah Kumari Alex (ANI Image)

Anannyah Kumari Alex is contesting in Vengara constituency in Malappuram district as the candidate of Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP).

Anannyah Kumari Alex is bold to speak loud about her gender identity. So, she is confident in declaring that transgenders can be “much better” leaders than men and women and the society is incomplete without them.

This blend of boldness and confidence have made this 28-year old transwoman a candidate in the April 6 Assembly polls in Kerala, the first ever TG to contest assembly elections in the southern state. A celebrity make-up artist, radio jockey, TV news- reader and an established stage show anchor, Anannyah Kumari Alex is contesting in Vengara constituency in Malappuram district as the candidate of Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP).

Her main opponents in the poll fray are IUML heavyweight and UDF nominee P K Kunhalikutty and LDF’s P Jiji. Whether she wins or loses this election, Anannyah is already part of the state’s poll history as the first third gender person to contest the Assembly elections.

In an interview to P T I,Anannyah said she is happy and proud to represent her marginalised community in this election and her candidature was not intended to create any history. “But, it is part of my fight to ensure gender equality in all areas. Good leaders are inevitable to create a good society. I am sure transgenders can be much better leaders than men and women,” she said.

Hailing from Perumon in Kollam district, the transwoman also said she was keen to try her hand in all possible areas and wants to prove the society that a transgender is not behind anyone and equally capable as men and women. When asked why she chose a constituency like Vengara, where a veteran leader like Kunhalikutty is contesting, she said it would give her fight more visibility among the public.

If wins, she wants to work for the safety and welfare of women and to ensure an equal space for third gender people in society. She criticised mainstream political parties for neglecting the transgender community without giving them enough representation in seat sharing.

Anannyah was also not hesitant to say that no mainstream party or political front would give a chance to a transgender in the next 10 or 15 years. “All the mainstream parties are a failure in ensuring gender equality and justice especially when it comes to elections. Women are not getting the deserved number of seats as men. If this is the situation, can we expect they will show equal treatment to transgenders?” she asked.

Detailing the reasons for joining DSJP, a newly formed party, the transwoman said it stands for gender equality and was ready to give a representation to her community and so she “grabbed the opportunity”. “We, transgenders, do not want anyone’s sympathy.

As we are comparatively less in number and marginalised for years, we may need the support of the society and the government…not sympathy,” she said. A member of an ordinary family and a plus-two drop out,Anannyah said she had to leave home and family as they could not understand her worries over the gender.

She said she lived in many places including Bengaluru and did many jobs right from a make-up artist to anchor for survival. She had undergone a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) some time back but was now planning to file a case against the hospital, where the procedure was done, because of some physical diffifulites, she said.

Even after making her own mark in a plethora of fields, her mother and brother were still not ready to accept her new gender identity. “Only my father is understanding and accepting me as what I am now. I have faced so much discrimination and stigma throughout my life. Whatever I have achieved so far is the result of my handwork and hardship,” the transwoman added.

As per the latest Election Commission figures, as many as 290 transgenders are eligible to cast their votes in the April 6 Assembly polls. The capital city Thiruvananthapuram has the highest number of TG voters-61, followed by Kozhikode-51 and Thirssur-46.