A transgender from Mumbai North East

Mumbai: Jatin Maharaj, a transgender (third gender) from the ‘Jogta’ community, filed his nomination form for the Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North East constituency on Tuesday. Transgenders are contesting 40 of the 48 LS seats in Maharashtra, this time. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ has not come true, said a disappointed Jatin, 44.

He has decided to contest this time as he feels his community and people from the weaker sections have been deprived of basic facilities and let down by the government. In Maharashtra and Karnataka, Jogtas and Jogtis refer to male and female servants who dedicate (or are forced to dedicate) their lives to god.

The term ‘Jogti hijras’ refers to transgenders who devote themselves to the service of a particular god. The Independent transgender candidate said that despite having put their demands before the government, nothing concrete has emerged so far.

“Our fight will be for our rights and for weaker sections like widows, poor and the elderly. We also want reservation for our community in both — jobs and education — in the state and union government similar to that extended to the Marathas. We want free education for poor people.

Besides, the government nominates people from art and culture to the Rajya Sabha. I believe educated and deserving people from the transgender community too should be given a fair and equal opportunity. I will approach everyone for support, not just those from our community,” Jatin assured.

Jatin lives in a rented house in Ghatkopar and aspires to be the voice of his community in Parliament. The transgender left his home at the age of 12 and has lived separately ever since. He has studied up to Class XI and is confident of giving a tough fight to the both the leading political parties – the BJP and the NCP.

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