Raigarh, a city of 300,000 in the state of Chhattisgarh, India has become the first city in India to elect a transgender mayor.
On Sunday, independent candidate Madhu Kinnar was elected mayor over Mahaveer Guruji of the popular Bharatiya Janata Party by more than 4,500 votes.
Nine months before, the Indian Supreme Court declared transgender people, known as hijras, as a legal third gender in a landmark ruling that legally recognized the identities of an estimated two million people in the nation. Since the ruling, all legal documents include a third category for transgender people, and the government has been required to construct separate public bathrooms and special hospital wards.
Kinnar, who comes from the “low caste” community Dalit, used to earn her money singing and dancing in trains. She says she was overwhelmed by the support she received from the public.
“I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar said.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 4/17/14; BBC News 4/15/14; Reuters 1/5/15