Though Kerala came up with a transgender policy in 2015, many socio-legal problems of sexual minorities are yet to be addressed, according to LGBTQ activists.
“Marriage and adoption of children are still a huge issue for sexual minorities,” says Vijayaraja Mallika, transwoman poet and winner of the Vayalar Ramavarma Poetry Award 2019, who got married recently. To get married, transgenders have to cross many hurdles. Even if they are transman or transwoman, they have to procure the identity cards of ‘cismale’ and ‘cisfemale’ to get married. Otherwise they can live together, but the relationship will not be legal, she noted.
“The online form for adoption does not even have a third option, other than male and female. Leave alone the huge financial burden for such legal adoptions, the rules do not allow sexual minorities to legally adopt children,” Ms. Shyam noted.
But illegal adoptions are common among transgender community. In some places in Tamil Nadu, people who are not in a position to take care of their children leave them with the transgender community. Adoption is also common there. But there is no legal validity for such adoptions.
What the sexual minorities in the State would like to have is gender policy. “More than an exclusive LGBTQ policy, we need a gender policy, which does not discriminate against a community. The Constitution promises equal rights for every citizen, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation,” says Ms. Shyam.
The gender policy should address all socio-legal issues of sexual minorities including marriage, adoption of children and employment, she added. Coming down heavily on the National Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act -2019, both Ms. Mallika and Ms. Shyam say the Bill not only failed to protect the rights of the transgenders but also strip them of the existing rights.