India’s first homes for transgender children in need of care and protection will soon be established in Bengaluru. The Ministry of Women and Child Development gave its nod for the project last week. The minutes of the supplementary Project Approval Board (PAB) under child protection services says that two government-run children’s homes reserved for transgender children will be established in Bengaluru Urban.
Children in need of care and protection include orphans, abandoned children, street children, child labourers and child victims of abuse.
Indian Administrative Service officer Pallavi Akurathi, Director, Directorate of Child Protection, who mooted the idea to establish separate children’s homes for transgenders, said that she had learnt many transgender children placed in State-run children’s homes for girls or boys were not comfortable.
“My field level staff informed me that in many instances, when transgender children who are in need of care and protection are produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), they are not able to place these children in the existing children’s homes for boys and girls. CWCs avoid placing these children in the existing children’s homes. I spoke to several people from the transgender community who spoke about the violence and abuse they faced as transgenders and decided that it is best that a separate home is established exclusively for such a vulnerable section of children,” she said.
She added that it was not an easy task to get the approval from the Central government as it was a new initiative. It was initially not approved in the PAB held in May 2020, and she later resubmitted the proposal in the supplementary PAB held on October 15, 2020.
The two transgender homes would have the capacity to house 50 children each. Ms. Akurathi has asked officials of the department to conduct a recce to understand where transgender children in need of care and protection are located, and to understand the challenges they face.
Antony Sebastian, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said that it is essential a children’s home is established for transgender children as they face a lot of stigma and abuse . “They will not fit in the homes for boys or girls. Establishing a separate home and giving them the attention and care at a young age will help address some of their concerns,” he said.
Pallavi Shivappa Jakali, 35, a transgender who was based in Ramdurg, a town in Belagavi, was brought up in a children’s home run by an NGO. “I grew up in a boys’ home and was constantly bullied by other boys. Because of this, I would always dress as a man and hide my identity,” she said, adding that she had come out as a transgender only when she was 17 years old. She felt that the move to establish a separate home for transgenders would help people like her cross the many hurdles they faced in society.