Intersex activist makes history and runs for election in India

Intersex activist makes history and runs for election in India
Chinju Aswathi (Photo: Facebook)

Chinju Aswathi is the first intersex Indian to run for national parliamentary elections in India.

Aswathi is running for a seat in the lower house of parliament representing Ernakulam in the southern state of Kerala.

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

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