KSACS to Launch 8 Exclusive Projects for Transgenders - The New Indian Express

KSACS to Launch 8 Exclusive Projects for Transgenders

Published: 22nd May 2014 09:11 AM

Last Updated: 22nd May 2014 09:39 AM

KOCHI: Kerala State Aids Control Society (KSACS) is all set to launch eight exclusive projects for the benefit of transgenders in the state, after the Supreme court verdict  recognised this long marginalised group as a third gender recently. But officials are apprehensive on how it would have a bearing on the Malayali psyche which would be potent for these projects to be successful.

Once these projects begin, the transgenders who isolated themselves due to the fear of being stigmatised, would become more visible in the society. It would definitely be a massive cultural shock that would be too hard to be digested by a society which always believed or liked to believe that such a category never existed in the state, said Dennis Joseph, Joint Director ( targeted intervention) KSACS.  “ We do not know how the people as well as police would react to them once they come out of their cloistered lifestyle. Years ago, when rehabilitation work for sex workers began, they started coming out in the open especially to avail themselves of the services in rehabilitation centres. This invited the wrath of people residing nearby. Now, we are clueless on how the society would react when they start seeing people once attired as men venturing out in female attire,” he pointed out.

The projects will be launched in eight districts - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur. The intense counselling which usually focuses on HIV prevention services would also cover subjects as to how to be wary of quacks when it comes to Sex Reassignment Surgeries (SRS) as they come with a price. Besides, this particular group comes with an intense identity crisis and many associated psychological issues as they are mostly females trapped in a male’s body.

An official pointed out that the general misconception in the state is that transgenders do not exist here.

“Fearing stigma, they always move out of the state or remain hidden under a broad umbrella in the disguise of Men having Sex with Men (MSM). When KSACS filtered MSM, we could identify around 2,500 transgenders in the state. The numbers will definitely surge, once these projects start,” he said.

When asked about the precautions to be taken to prevent them from being ridiculed or taunted he said, “At present, no steps are taken as we are clueless to anticipate the challenges it would pose. We can only learn once it is  implemented,” he said.

 “Probably, healthy debates or discussions in the media would help to maintain an equilibrium in society once the transgenders become more visible”.

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