Kerala takes a big step in securing rights for transgenders

On Tuesday, the state took another major step in ensuring transgender rights when four transwomen visited Sabarimala.

Published: 19th December 2018 03:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2018 03:24 AM   |  A+A-

The transgender pilgrims | Vishnu Prathap

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On Tuesday, the state took another major step in ensuring transgender rights when four transwomen visited Sabarimala. At a time when the Left government is facing flak over the women’s entry issue, it scored a political point by allowing transwomen to visit the hill shrine. 

On Sunday, the police had stopped transgeder devotees at Erumely saying they were wearing sarees. This invited severe criticisms from all corners forcing the government to step in. On Monday, the state gave them permission to visit the temple. Last year, the same team had visited the temple this time clad in men’s attire without facing any trouble. 

Transgender activists feel the police action was triggered by the widespread protest against SC verdict allowing women of al ages to enter the hill shrine.

Four TG devotees offer prayers 
Sabarimala: Four transgender devotees — Avantika Vishnu, Renjumol Mohan, Trupti Shetty and Ananya Kumari — offered prayers at the temple here on at 9 am Tuesday.

Noted transgender activist Kalki Subramaniam said: “There is nothing new in transgender devotees visiting Sabarimala. But this year, the SC verdict made the law enforcers more cautious about the people entering the temple. So when they came wearing saree, the police stopped.”

Though Kalki applauded the efforts of the state government in securing transgenders’ rights, she was quite apprehensive about the empowerment of transgender community. “The state has done exceptional things for the protection of transgenders. But they should also make policies for their empowerment,” Kalki added. 

Biju Prabhakar, Special Secretary, Social Justice department, said the government’s decision to allow trans devotees to visit the temple in women’s dress was praiseworthy. “Though the state government has succeeded in initiating many projects for the welfare of transgender community, a lack of leadership in the community failed to achieve the empowerment. The government has been implementing many projects for the community. However, no one in the community came forward. There are many bright trans people and they are capable of becoming leaders. If they come forward, empowerment will happen,” said Biju.

Akeeramon hails NSS’ stance

Sabarimala:Thantra Vidyapeedom patron and All India Brahmin Association vice-president Akeeramon Kalidasa Bhattathiri on Tuesday welcomed NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair’s open stance in support of the devotees and for the protection of the temple’s ongoing practices. Akeeramon said the devotees cannot be blamed for thinking that the decision for organising the statewide women’s wall was taken with the intention to influence the revision petition on women’s entry which the Supreme Court will consider on January 22.

Kollam Thulasi moves HC

Kochi: Malayalam actor Kollam Thulasi on Tuesday approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail in a case related to the controversial remarks he made against women over the Sabarimala Temple issue at an NDA protest meeting. The court has sought the government’s view on his plea. The Kollam Principal Sessions Court had earlier dismissed the bail plea. In his petition, Thulasi submitted the Sessions Court failed to consider the fact that he had tendered an unconditional apology for his remarks. Thulasi has been charged under IPC Sections 504 and 295 (A)

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