Waari Singbul Network
Imphal, Jan 24:
The trans community in Manipur has raised strong objections to the inclusion of only 239 of its members in the state’s final electoral rolls, asserting that this figure significantly underrepresents their actual population.
Santa Khurai, a trans activist and secretary of the All Manipur Nupi Manbi (trans-women) Association (AMANA), a prominent trans community organization, emphasized that the adult trans population in the state exceeds 4000.
The final electoral rolls, released on Monday by Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Pradeep Kumar Jha, reported a total of 20,26,623 electors, including 10,46,706 females, 9,79,678 males, and only 239 individuals identified as third gender or trans gender.
Expressing disbelief at the remarkably low figure, Santa, also a researcher and writer, stated, “We are stunned to see the terribly small number of just 239 third gender voters in the final electoral rolls.”
A representative from the State election office acknowledged the challenge of identifying the third gender for inclusion in the rolls but affirmed that corrective measures could be taken to rectify the gender status.
In 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, AMANA conducted a survey, distributing support materials to trans community members and identifying 4000 adult members. Santa acknowledged the likelihood that this figure is an underestimate due to many individuals avoiding participation out of fear of social stigma.
To rectify this discrepancy, AMANA plans to engage with the state election office to ensure a more accurate representation of the trans community in the electoral rolls. Santa pointed out that the failure to involve trans gender individuals in the survey and the reluctance of parents to disclose the identities of their trans children could be contributing factors to the “faulty figure.”
Santa, who addressed the 48th United Nations Human Rights Council Session in 2021, highlighted the importance of addressing issues faced by the LGBTIQ+ community, extending from democratic access to safe water and sanitation.