Used to enlist themselves either as male or female in official documents, the third gender voters are yet to come out in the open to declare their gender in voters’ lists.
Out of 6.5 crore registered voters in West Bengal, a nominal 758 are from the third gender. Election Commission officials said they have been trying their best to ensure that all voters from the category enlist themselves in a separate column. “We are encouraging it. They can enlist as third gender both as a candidate as well as voters in the third gender category. But we have noticed that they don’t want to mention third gender despite us asking them to do so,” Amitjyoti Bhattacharya, Deputy Chief Electoral officer, said here. Ranjita Sinha who leads Association of Transgender/Hijra in Bengal (ATHB) says social issues prevent them from coming out in the open. “Most members of the transgender and hijra community are forced to register themselves as male or female voters when faced with problems in getting recognition as the third sex.