Prafullkumar Mishra, Chairman of Goa Human Rights Commission, on Friday asserted that transgenders have all the rights under the Constitution, but called for provisions like Article 15 to make special laws to accord benefits to them in terms of reservation in employment, to educate them, and equip them to earn a living with dignity.

Mr. Mishra was speaking as the chief guest at a function as part of a three-day All India Hijra mela held here by ‘Anam Prem’ on Friday.

He said that existence of the third gender was as old as humanity itself. But unfortunately, society had failed to recognise the worth of these persons.

He said it was the duty of the law-enforcing authorities to enforce the laws. But Mr. Mishra felt that they might be failing due to inborn prejudices.

Lamenting society’s failure in accommodating the third gender, he called for intervention of Parliament to amend laws if required to give them their human rights and fundamental rights.

Abhina Aher, Delhi-based Programme Manager of Pehchan and a transgender, making a presentation about the status of transgenders called for change in human resource policies in government and private sector to accord equal opportunities to transgenders. At the moment, she said that their job opportunities were confined to nongovernmental organisations.

She repeatedly called upon the ‘hijras’ to start believing in themselves so as to overcome their complex and lead a normal life.

Needs visibility

“Society needs visibility. Unless we come out with confidence, and unless we stop pulling each other down and continue to project ourselves in wrong way, we will not get the much needed acknowledgement in society,” Aher said.

She said that southern States had shown much progressive streak with regards to facilities and benefits to the community and made a mention of the Madras High Court judgment on this count. Making a plea for social acceptance to the community, she lamented that the response of society towards transgenders continued to be “hate, fear and sympathy.”

She asserted that the hijras need not only human rights but also fundamental rights. Rights like adoption were denied to them.