Handling cases on transgenders still a problem for police

Police should approach senior members of the community while dealing with young transgenders, says activist.

It was in April this year, two transgenders extorted ₹ 10,000 from a woman from Chinniyampalayam when she had parked her car on the side of the road before Nava India signal to attend a phone call. Though the woman had initially given ₹10, and subsequently ₹500 to the transgenders, they threatened her and took away ₹ 10,000 from her wallet.

Following the incident, L. Balaji Saravanan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City Police, convened a meeting of transgenders, which had representation from senior members of various groups in Coimbatore, where they were advised not to indulge in extortion.

On September 23, five persons in women’s attire were arrested after they allegedly assaulted a man from Palakkad at Ram Nagar. The police claimed that they were men posing as transgenders.

After a lull, the gender minorities were in news last week when two persons in women’s attire were arrested by the Peelamedu police for extorting ₹ 1,000 from a man from Tiruppur on Avinashi Road. The police claimed that the accused were men from TVS Nagar near Kavundampalayam who posed as transgenders.

According to sources in the transgender community, those arrested in connection with the incident at Ram Nagar were young transgenders who were yet to undergo sex reassignment surgery. However they were labelled as men posing as transgenders.

“Identification of transgenders is questionable. A doctor can only decide the identity in physical perspective. The psychological identity of the persons should be looked upon to decide their real identity,” says transgender rights activist Kalki Subramaniam who at the same time denounces certain members of the community who indulge in extortion and violence.

She feels that the police should approach senior members of the community while handling young transgenders like the ones held from Ram Nagar to avoid the ‘mislabelling’.

A transgender to whom The Hindu spoke to said that many in the police force have been labelling them as men dressed up as women, without really understanding their sexual orientation.

Admitting that many in the force were not trained to handle transgenders, City Police Commissioner Sumit Sharan said that there were plans to conduct awareness sessions for the police personnel to understand transgenders and treat them without any gender bias.

D. Srinivasan, consultant psychiatrist, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital, also feels that the police need to be sensitized to the rights of transgenders, and their acceptance in the society.

According to Ms. Subramaniam, family acceptance is the key to end the discrimination that force young transgenders to leave their family, join the community, and indulge in begging and sex work for a living. Social acceptance is another factor that has to be inculcated through education.

Meanwhile, she admits that a few transgenders indulging in extortion and other crimes cause bad repute for the community and spoil hard work of people who struggle for the upliftment of the community and eradication of social stigma. “Such acts cannot be accepted and they should be dealt with the law,” she adds.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 3:58:29 PM |

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