India’s intersex politician reports abuse by police
India’s only intersex candidate in upcoming elections filed accusations of police abuse in the southern city of Kerala this week.
Chinju Ashwathi said police abused them with ‘filthy language’ and threatened to beat them.
Aswathi is running for a seat in the lower house of parliament representing Ernakulam in the southern state of Kerala as an independent candidate.
In a petition filed to the chief of Kerala police, Aswathi says police stopped their auto rickshaw at 2.30am on Sunday.
They report that a police driver used filthy language to abuse them. He then threatened to beet Aswathi.
According to their petition, the police driver snatched Aswathi’s phone and pushed their shoulder.
A police inspector was sitting in the police car and witnessed the incident, according to Aswathi.
‘This incident has shaken me and hurt my dignity’ Aswathi wrote in the petition shared on Facebook.
‘I am ashamed of living in such a country where the police has no respect or humanitarian consideration for people like me’
Aswathi demanded ‘strict action’ against the two police officers involved.
Aswathi is the first intersex Indian to run for national parliamentary elections in India.
They said the lives of intersex Indians are even worse than transgender citizens.
’Society is not ready to recognize its [intersex] segment’ they told Newsrupt.
They said that intersex rights were abused in Kerala and young intersex people were often forced to live as men or women.
About 1.7% of people are born with atypical sex characteristics, including variations in the chromosomes, genitalia, gonads, or sex hormones.
Doctors worldwide typically perform surgery on those born with variations.
But, recent research and activism, however, have decried intersex surgery as both simply cosmetic and actively harmful.
A group of European doctors last year advised postponing surgery until the child can be involved in the decision.
Aswathi said they would work with other marginalized Keralans such as LGBTI, minority Dalits, fishermen, and women.
Elections in India
India’s general elections starting this month will be the first time trans Indians can vote as a third gender.
But, according to local media, not many transgender voters have registered.
Nearly 39,000 voters have registered as ‘third gender’. But, according to a 2014 census found, at least 500,000 Indians identify as transgender.
What’s more, Sneha Kale made headlines as the first-ever trans woman to run in the general election.
And the local government of one of India’s largest states, Karnataka, appointed its first transgender employee.
India’s first Miss Trans Queen also joined one of the country’s largest political parties.
Earlier this year, the same party appointed its first transgender office-bearer..
Violence continues, however. One trans politician running for office in Hyderabad went missing during her election campaign.
Last month, a man decapitated a trans priestess in her temple.
India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized trans identities as a third gender.
But, the community remains marginalized. Families and employers shun trans individuals.
What’s more, activists have slammed a trans rights bill currently in the Upper House of Parliament. They say it further infringes rights rather than protects them.
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Author: Rik Glauert