THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I was ousted from a ‘ladies only’ compartment on my way to attend this programme and the policeman did not know how to deal with a transgender, said LGBT activist Sheetal Shyam during the discussion held on the sidelines of International Congress on Kerala Studies that concluded here.
Activists of transgender rights suggested reforms at the legal and policy implementation level. In fact it was the first platform given to transgender discussion at the CPM event. The participants demanded amending IPC 377 that deals with criminalisation of sex against the order of nature.
A state government amendment in the subject under concurrent list would help sort out the discrepancy brought about by the court verdicts, said Aravind Narayanan, who moderated the session. He said the Transgender Policy should include rights of properties and adoption.
Many transgenders said they had the same experience as Sheetal and demanded their rights based on the recently-released Transgender Policy, at the session.
What remedial measures are available for transgenders if their rights are denied, they asked. Currently, there are no penal steps for those denying them of their rights. But what hurt them most was the stigma attached to their gender. According to Sheetal, all rights such as reservation or property rights were considered normal for other genders but not so for a transgender. “We have to give a lecture on our gender before we demand our rights. There is a need to change the way people look at transgenders,” said Sheetal.
Activist Sharat Chelur demanded the CPM set an example by giving membership to transgenders and they be included in various livelihood projects of the party.