Introducing India’s First Transgender Mayor

35-year-old Madhu Bai Kinnar crushed the competition by over 4,500 votes to emerge as Raigarh’s mayor in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Madhu Bai Kinnar (center). Screenshot courtesy Mail Online.

This past Sunday, 35-year-old Madhu Bai Kinnar emerged victorious in her bid for mayor in the city of Raigarh in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The triumph was momentous, not only in that she won by a sizable 4,500 plus vote margin, but also because Kinnar has become the country’s very first transgender mayor.

Kinnar’s appointment follows last April’s landmark ruling by the highest court in India that transgender people can be legally recognized as a third gender, or “gender neutral.” Estimations put India’s transgender population at approximately two million. Hijras, as they’re commonly known, are often ostracized by society and struggle to find work, often forced to resort to begging, prostitution, or performing on the street. Kinnar, a member of the Dalit caste (formerly known as the untouchables), sang and danced on trains to make a living, but stopped when she was asked to run for office by her community.

“People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I'll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar was quoted as saying, as she celebrated her victory.

India seems to be riding a positive wave in this area—the country also saw the appointment of its first transgender news anchor last September.