In a significant move that India needs right now, the state chief electoral officer has been roped in transgender person as an ‘election ambassador’ in charge of creating awareness among voters and maximize the voting percentage.
The chief electoral officer’s office has now recruited transgender activist Gauri Sawant (38) as one of its 12 state ambassadors ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Sawant is pleased as punch after her appointment and said that she is honoured to be appointed as the “one and only” transgender election ambassador in the country.
“I will generate awareness among sex workers and housewives about the importance of voting. Sex workers and their welfare do not feature on the agenda of any of the parties, so even they do not bother to vote. But this has to change,” Sawant told TOI.
She cited that several women are also ignorant about their voting rights. “The voting day is (usually) a holiday and their husbands are at home, so they are busy cooking for them and do not go out to vote,” said Sawant.
“We will reach out to them and explain why it is important to vote and that many countries still do not give women the right to do so. If we cannot go to the border and fight, we should at least go to the election booth and vote,” she said.
Gauri Sawant was born and raised in a conservative family in Pune. After several years of difficulties, she launched her own NGO and also adopted a girl child in 2001. The child was left orphaned in 2001 after her mother’s death, a sex worker who died of HIV.
The baby’s grandmother decided to sell her to a dealer in Sonagachi in Kolkata and when Sawant learnt about it, she stepped forward to save the child by adopting her.
(Originally published in The Times of India)