Hijras in Chikmagalur went to the Government asking to provide them with a means of livelihood as they are yet to find acceptance in society.

Interacting with presspersons here on Tuesday in a programme organised by the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), a group of eight Hijras, explained the stigma and discrimination that they faced. This was the first such interaction in Chikmagalur.

Pointing out that they were not responsible for their condition, they wanted protection from the police, goondas and autorickshaw drivers.

They wanted a stipend to be paid to HIV positive persons undergoing Anti-Retroviral Therapy. They said Ashodaya, a community-based organisation, had a drop-in-centre where they could sing and dance or watch television when they wanted to relax. Volunteers at Ashodaya counselled them on HIV prevention measures. They regretted that the way they were depicted in movies created a wrong impression about them. Ummer, district coordinator for CFAR, said there were 442 registered hijras in Chikmagalur. Most of them wanted to lead a normal life but some were forced to enter the flesh trade or resort to begging as they required money to meet their daily expenses.