Bharathi Kannamm is the first transgender to be an officially accepted candidate for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The Supreme Court order recognising transgenders as the "third sex" has motivated a pioneering transgender to start campaigning in Madurai city and contest the election as an independent. Bharathi, 53, hopes to overturn prejudices against the transgenders with her efforts.
The SC, in its watershed ruling, had said that a person could be legally recognised as gender-neutral, and that the transgenders should be included in welfare schemes for minority groups. Otherwise labelled "hijras", transgenders are people who have had sex-change operations or who regard themselves as the opposite of their born gender.
After Kannamma announced her candidature, two other transgenders have decided to fight for seats in Uttar Pradesh. This would be the first Lok Sabha election in which voters and candidates can register as "other" instead of male or female. However, only 28,000 have registered so far with the Election Commission.