Transgender social activist and poet Disha Pinky Shaikh, from Ahmednagar, has been appointed as the state spokesperson of the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA).
Disha is the first transgender woman to be a spokesperson of a political party in Maharashtra. “I am very happy with the responsibility bestowed upon me. Many people, specially friends and activists from the Ambedkarite Movement, have always supported me in this journey,” Disha told Indie Journal.
“Political representation of transgenders or sexual minorities is very important for change in the society, for welfare policies of people from marginal backgrounds. I am sure that my community will get a confidence about the political changes happening around and political awareness among them will increase gradually,” she said.
The Prakash Ambedkar led Aaghadi is in alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) in Maharashtra.
“There are some political parties who are trying involve us in mainstream politics now a days. Parties like INC (Congress) have given an opportunity to a transgender person recently in their party but these parties, as I have personally observed, ‘showcase’ us to present an image of being progressive and liberal. But they don’t let us actually speak or do the work we want to do. But here [VBA], we are speaking, we have been given a stage and opportunities,” Disha says.