Transgenders welcome move to set up welfare commission

Transgenders in Karnataka are hoping for better days after the government announced it would constitute a welfare commission for them.  

Rajashree, who is in her 40s, was ostracised by her family when she was eighteen fearing social stigma of having a ‘Hijra’ in their home.

Living with her community for over two decades, she said people like them are no better than ‘existing invisible’ for society as they are treated like persona non grata.

However, persons like Rajashree are hoping that the situation will change at least in Karnataka as it is the first in the country that has proposed to constitute a separate welfare commission for transgenders, as announced by Health Minister U.T. Khader recently.

“The Karnataka government has taken a welcome step to ensure a dignified position for transgenders in the society,” said Mallappa Kumbar, State coordinator of the Karnataka State Sexual Minorities Forum.

He said in the absence of a constitutional body for uploading their rights, the community has been ill-treated in the society.

“While we do not get any jobs, the police treat us like social burden. For survival, we are forced into begging or prostitution,” said Veena, a transgender and activist. She says people feel disgusted when Hijras beg in trains, but they do not let them work even as a domestic maid. “Most of us are school dropouts and very few have completed graduation. Even their socio-economic condition is no different from other transgenders,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumbar said the forum has prepared a draft report for the welfare of the community.

As per a survey, there are over 50,000 transgenders in the State. However, the numbers are likely to be higher if a fresh census is conducted, he said, adding that the draft report has recommendations such as introduction of lessons on transgenders in schools.

As per a survey,

there are over

50,000 transgenders

in the State