Special Correspondent

Rs. 50 lakh allotted to the welfare board, says Poongothai

TAMBARAM: The State government had issued an order, providing for admission of transgenders into government colleges, Kanimozhi, poet and Rajya Sabha Member, said here on Sunday.

“This is probably the first instance where a third gender category was created for giving admission to transgenders in government colleges,” she told a function at Peerkankaranai near Tambaram. The meeting was organised by the Tamil Nadu Aravanigal Sangam to thank the government for constituting a welfare board for the community. The G.O., Ms. Kanimozhi said, was passed by the State Higher Education Department. The transgender community suffered offences and crimes even worse than the women, who at least had a shelter. “But the transgenders are deprived of housing and are shunned by the society,” she remarked.

“The country is known for family values but I doubt the same when I look at the condition of the transgenders,” she said.

Stating that she saluted the determination and courage by the community to break all barriers in the society, Ms. Kanimozhi said “your voice should echo in all fronts.”

The transgender community had contributed more than anyone else in breaking differences of caste and religion. At the same time, they were unaware of their rights. “Do not confine yourself to stagnation,” Ms. Kanimozhi remarked, stating that they should also think of pursuing medicine, law and plunging into politics.

Social Welfare Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna said the government had allotted Rs. 50 lakh to the welfare board constituted for transgenders. Due to different circumstances, the transgenders were forced to take up unpleasant professions. “Protect yourself from sexual problems and crimes as sexually transmitted diseases apart from HIV/AIDS were on the rise throughout the country.

K.M. Ramathal, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women, said the transgenders had rights to celebrate, but by taking part in certain rituals, like tying the ‘thaali and removing them’ in Koovagam, the transgenders were only lowering themselves. Among others who spoke included Tambaram MLA S.R. Raja and Asha Bharathi, and Kiruba of Tamil Nadu Aravanigal Sangam.