Transgenders air their woes at adalat


First State-level adalat for the community uncovers harsh truths

Beyond the malice society throws at them, what pains transgenders the most is the attitude their families harbour towards them. Often, they have to flee from their homes to be able to even accept themselves as they are.

“People think it is a problem with us. They don’t understand our orientation was decided when we were in our mother’s womb. We do not even get to call those who gave birth to us ‘mother,’” says Karthika S., office assistant in the State government’s Transgender Cell.

Karthika says it is essential that families of transgender persons are given counselling. Societal awareness too is needed.

Their struggles do not end even after fleeing from home. Jobs, shelter, identity...all remain a challenge. These and many such issues were highlighted by Karthika and other transgender persons who attended the first State-level transgender adalat organised by the Kerala State Youth Commission here on Tuesday. Fifty-six complaints were received at the adalat.

Laya, earlier project assistant in the Transgender Cell, says many transgender persons have good educational qualifications while many pursue equivalency courses. However, they need jobs to improve their lives. At present, vacancies in government departments or agencies are only on contract. If reservation is given to them through the PSC, they can be assured of lifelong security and dignity.

‘Transgender category’

Nadira Mehrin, an MA Political Science student at University College, seconds Laya. She also points out that transgender students have no option but to compete in male or female categories in arts or sports events in universities. “We want a transgender category.”

Though they have Aadhaar cards and transgender cards issued by the Social Justice Department, their voter cards with the term ‘third gender’ on them remain a symbol of the discrimination they face.

Though the government has a reimbursement scheme for sex reassignment surgeries, many transgender persons are unable to pay for them initially, she says. “If hospitals are empanelled by the government, it can help avoid the huge strain of raising funds in the first place.” Nadira also calls for SRS facilities, right from counselling to post-operative care, to be made available at government hospitals in the State.

Abuse and violence against transgender persons is another issue that was brought up. They face a lot of jibes owing to their identity if they do land a job. Even using public transport is difficult. Nadira mentions the tardy progress in the murder case of Shalu, a transgender, though it has been months since the incident. They also raised the demand for starting care homes for community members in each district.

Commission chairperson Chintha Jerome said the recommendations would be looked into and brought to the notice of government departments for action. Reports were sought into individual complaints of violence given by the transgender persons. Commission member V. Vinil, secretary T.K. Jayashree, and assistant Manoj C.D. were also present.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:49:45 AM |

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