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India polls: Transgender stands for office after landmark ruling

Published on Apr 20, 2014 12:22 PM

CHENNAI, India (AFP) - With a tight budget and a humble autorickshaw, a pioneering Indian transgender is campaigning in her southern hometown for a seat in parliament, just days after the country's highest court recognised "third gender" people.

Describing the Supreme Court judge's ruling as a "milestone", 53-year-old Bharathi Kannamma hopes to build on the momentum and overturn prejudices against India's several million transgenders.

Running as an independent candidate in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu state, she is thought to be the first transgender accepted as a candidate in a general election.

"Even when people come to see me talk, they have certain set notions," the social activist told AFP ahead of Madurai's polling day on Thursday, in the phased general election that winds up in mid-May.

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