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Meet Radha, The Sole Transgender Candidate From Tamil Nadu Who Is Fighting For Equality

  • IWB Post
  •  April 11, 2019

A cook by profession, M Radha is one among a handful of transgender candidates who have filed their nominations from across the country. She will be seen contesting the April 18 polls as an independent from Chennai South constituency and if elected, will become the first transgender in Parliament.

Though Radha holds a post-graduate degree with a BA in Economics and an MA in English, on her nomination papers, she mentions her qualifications as just a 12th standard pass out, as her college certificates got damaged during the 2015 Chennai floods. Despite having the educational qualification, she says it’s hard for transgenders to find a job. However, the increased awareness in the society about the community has helped Radha reach out to the people of her constituency and she hasn’t received any negative feedback while campaigning, she says.

“There is now awareness about the transgender community. People are welcoming us, asking me to sit down and eat, drink coffee with them. It wasn’t like this before,” she told The Indian Express, adding that the Supreme Court’s verdict last year striking down Section 377, which criminalised homosexuality, is a big factor in bringing about this change.

“After the Supreme Court verdict, people who were afraid to speak out and be open about their identity have gotten the strength. But there’s more work to do; the verdict says trans people should have equality in terms of marriage, education, legal heirship, etc. This has not been implemented in the state.”

To interact with the voters, Radha, unlike the other candidates who are seen campaigning with loudspeakers and a trail of vehicles, has been going from door-to-door on a cycle with her friend Nila. “Other parties try to win over the electorate with money, but I have won their affection with who I am,” she says.

Allotted with a ‘Computer Mouse’ symbol, Radha says it is symbolic of ensuring that every child is given access to education. She has promised the residents of her constituency to resolve the issue of water crisis, and garbage and drainage problems, if elected, and apart from this, at the national level she wishes to raise issues of unemployment, sexual abuse, and under-representation of the transgender community.

H/T: The Indian Express 

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