Transgender social activist and poet Disha Pinky Shaikh, from Ahmednagar, has been appointed as the state spokesperson of the Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA). VBA officially made announcements of its spokespersons today. The Prakash Ambedkar led Aaghadi is in alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM).
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, especially friends and activists from the Ambedkarite Movement, have always supported me in this journey,” Disha told Indie Journal.
She further added that “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 confidence about the political changes happening around and political awareness among them will increase gradually.”
Credits- Prashant Pawar
Disha narrates her journey, saying, “It took me a year to come to the decision that I should be a part of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and I am convinced that VBA is making space and giving political representation for all weaker sections of society. Since last year, I was thinking about it, but I was confused and wasn’t ready to take a clear political stand because of the possible repercussions in my community. I wasn’t sure whether they will accept my stand. But they are happy today and even my Guru congratulated me over the phone.”
“There are some political parties who are trying involve us in mainstream politics nowadays. 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.