LGBTQIA+ community in Coimbatore seeks 5% reservation in educational institutions

Updated - February 15, 2024 08:01 pm IST

Published - February 15, 2024 05:35 pm IST - COIMBATORE

District Social Welfare Department conducting a meeting with stakeholders from the LGBTQIA+ community in Coimbatore.

District Social Welfare Department conducting a meeting with stakeholders from the LGBTQIA+ community in Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The zonal meeting of representatives from the LGBTQIA+ community in Coimbatore convened with the District Social Welfare Department on February 13, Tuesday, offered three key recommendations for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Draft Policy targeted at the community.

Part of a series of conferences spanning Villupuram, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Trichy and covering a total of 37 districts, the session saw the participation of 170 members from the community. Based on recommendations made at these sessions, the State government has been directed by the Madras High Court to launch the policy by March.

The discussions in Coimbatore centred on advocating for a 5% horizontal reservation for transpersons in both government sector jobs and educational institutions. “With an increase in the number of people belonging to the community, it is only fair that such a reservation be brought about. While cities like Chennai have sought 2% reservation, we feel there is a need for more,” said S. Vandana, a trans-woman who participated in the meeting.

Secondly, there was a call for enhanced residential and rehabilitation facilities for the community members subjected to harassment. “The suggested policy advocates for the establishment of a formal State Commission for Sexual and Gender Minorities to handle harassment cases. While the commission’s role is investigative, it is crucial to prioritise providing secure housing for victims during inquiries,” emphasised a member of the Kovai Vanavil Kootamaipu.

Elaborating on this, the committee recommended the setting up of more safe houses under the SAKHI one stop centre initiative.

Thirdly, a revision of the age limit for eligibility under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), currently set at 40 years, was suggested. “Many women from low-income backgrounds are married off in their early 20s, and become widows by their mid-20s. However, they must wait nearly a decade to qualify for pension benefits. Hence, the draft policy should lower the age threshold to 25,” said Sujata, a Coimbatore-based activist.

District Social Welfare Officer R. Ambika told The Hindu the recommendations would be passed onto the State-level committee within the week.

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