Transpersons voice litany of woes at interaction with police

A vaccination camp for transpersons underway at an event organised by the District Social Justice Department at Kaloor in the city on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Vibhu H.

“Why do police never take our complaints seriously and even leak our details to the accused?. Why do cops publicly humiliate us?”

The interaction between members of the transgender community and police as part of a one-day workshop organised by the district Social Justice Department here on Wednesday witnessed an avalanche of complaints by transpersons.

Responding to their complaints and concerns, Assistant Commissioner Biji George urged them to approach senior officials or the control room in the event of misbehaviour by police personnel.

A person wanted to know how intrusion into privacy by circulating one’s image on social media without permission could be prevented. Mr. George said that such mischief was hard to trace if done using fake profile.

Another wanted to know how a criminal among the transgender community could be stopped from bringing disrepute to the entire community. Humiliating treatment in the public with innuendos associating them with sex work was another concern.

The community members also requested District Collector Jafar Malik to organise a camp for issuing different cards they are entitled to. They complained to him about the lack of affordable housing that forced them into sex work. Government assistance for sex reassignment surgery, a support mechanism for psychological assistance in the wake of a spate of suicides among the community, and foisting of bogus police cases on transpeople were the other issues raised with the Collector.

A transwoman employed with the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) attributed the large scale attrition of community members from KMRL to the lack of affordable housing.

They also sought a psycho-social support system to address their problems and those between themselves. Difficulty in getting different cards owing to their peculiar position of being ousted from their families was another issue that surfaced during the interaction.

“So far, only 1,070 transgenders have received the transgender cards in the State. Applying for the card requires them to declare their status openly and that leads to their ouster from their families,” said K.K. Subair, district social justice officer. This despite the fact that a survey by a Bengaluru-based NGO putting the number of transpeople in the State around 25,000.

Faisal Faisu, a transgender activist and one of the first to openly declare to be a transgender, said that identity crisis and lack of societal acceptance continued to be the major problems faced by the community. “Even those who have come to attend this event will return home hiding behind a different identity to avert family rejections. There needs to be a mechanism for addressing issues in inter-personal relations and proper mental health care for the community,” Faisu said.

The event, organised in association with the Health department and Ernakulam Welfare Services, was the first step towards drawing up a a comprehensive psycho-social project by the district Transgender Justice Board under the district Social Justice Department.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 6:26:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/transpersons-voice-litany-of-woes-at-interaction-with-police/article36994838.ece

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