In their December 2022 election, India voted another trans politician as member of their municipal corporation in Delhi, advancing LGBTQ+ rights in the South Asian country.
In December 2022, India elected another trans woman as a member of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Bobi, also known as Bobi ‘Darling’, is the candidate for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). She won a major region in Delhi for her party during the election in December 2022. After all the votes were counted, it was announced that Bobi had won the election for the MCD.
India Elects Another Trans Woman
Bobi worked as a social worker for many years. She initially ran independently during the 2017 MCD election. She is known as a fighter for equality and for her work focused on improving the education system in and around Sultanpur. According to the Indian Express, the trans candidate had won the Sultanpur-A ward against Varuna Dhaka by 6,714 votes. Bobi stated that she desires to ‘improve the lives of her neighbours’.
India had previously elected two trans women back in 2020. Devika Akka and Sudha M. had won in the country’s 2020 local village elections, also referred to as gram panchayat. Akka represented Ward 7 in the state of Karnataka and Sudha was elected in Kallahalli.
While both were the first trans women to be voted in their respective village governments, they are not the first trans people to be voted in the history of India. Hijras won the right to vote in 1994. The Hijras are a community of ‘third gender’ people who have existed since ancient India. Four years later, in 1998, Shabnam Mausi became the first trans person in India to be elected to the office.
More Change to Come
India’s neighbouring country Pakistan has also advanced trans rights through their support hotline. The hotline, which was launched in September 2022, seeks to help trans and gender diverse people who deal with discrimination and harassment. However, same-sex marriage still remains illegal in both countries.
While there is still a long way to go regarding access to gender affirming healthcare and LGBTQ+ rights, the region’s new changes are welcomed. It is important to take into consideration that many South Asian countries were very queer and trans inclusive before colonisation. Much like the rest of the world, Europe and North America also need to diversify their governments and continue to vote in favour of forward-thinking queer and trans politicians.
Bobi’s win in India signifies the importance of LGBTQ+ representation. It is a win for the entire community in India who longs to be seen within politics. Having people who look like you make decisions which directly impact you is vital in our political society.