Transgender ‘icon’ to educate Manipur voters

Bishesh Huirem, a transgender model and actor, to motivate transgenders to participate in the Lok Sabha elections

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati
  • Published 18.03.19, 3:43 AM
  • Updated 18.03.19, 3:43 AM
  • a min read
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Bishesh Huirem The Telegraph picture

The Election Commission has engaged Bishesh Huirem, a model and actor from the transgender community, to be the face of its campaign in Manipur to raise awareness among voters.

Bishesh, who represented India at the Miss International Queen in Thailand in 2016, has been appointed as one of the “state icons” to motivate the masses, particularly transgenders, to participate in the Lok Sabha elections.

“It is a great privilege to be appointed as a state icon. Not only transgenders, I will to try to encourage more and more people to vote in the general elections,” she told The Telegraph.

She thanked Manipur chief electoral officer Prashant Kumar Singh for giving her the opportunity. Bishesh said she is perhaps the first transgender celebrity in the country to be appointed as a state icon for the parliamentary polls.

A graduate in fashion and apparel designing from Bangalore University, she is one of the highest-paid artistes in Manipuri films and mobile theatres.

She is an important part of the special drive launched by Singh to register names of transgenders and persons with disabilities in the voter list to ensure they get the right to vote.

Of the third gender voters, 26 have made it to the final photo electoral rolls published by the Manipur election commission office in January. Figures of the final electoral rolls published on January 11 will, however, change as intensive revision/updates are being done, which will continue till the last day of filing of nomination papers.

Bishesh said the number of transgenders in Manipur was far higher than what was reflected in the voter list as a majority of them are still reluctant to come out in the open and prefer to enlist themselves either as male or female in official documents.

For the first time, transgenders were recognised as the third gender by the commission during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in this regard.