HYDERABAD: Ostracised by their families and the society, the transgenders are forced to lead a life of begging and prostitution. Though the Supreme Court has accepted transgenders as third gender, ensuring equal opportunity in education and employment, a life of dignity is still a distant dream for the community.
The Samagra Kutumba Survey (Intensive Household Survey) launched by Telangana government on August 19 last year, of which results are yet to be published, has provided a key finding by enumerating a section of population that has been discriminated and denied social acceptability. Yes, there are 58,894 transgenders in the State, constituting 0.16 percent of the total population of 3,66,76,174.
Covering 85 different categories, the survey has managed to evaluate the social status of the community including family, housing, land and livestock, employment, disability, caste, religion and movable assets of this marginalised population. Pushed to the fringes of the society, almost none of them possess a ration card, voter id card, aadhaar card or even an LPG connection.
So, with all the information at hand, will this be a dawning of a new era for the transgenders. Will it pave the way for implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgement in NALSA v/s Union of India case delivered in April 2014?
“Numbers alone will not make any difference. We need demographics across categories, the interplay of caste, education, and employment etc. We are asking for our basic rights as legitimate human beings and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure at least our right for a dignified life,” said Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, a key member of the Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samithi.
Recalling how the Rajya Sabha passed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014 and the logjam in Lok Sabha, she said there have been over 60 instances of physical attacks and brutalities towards transgenders in Hyderabad in the last year. “It is the responsibility of the government of Telangana to put an end to the discrimination towards transgenders and implement the spirit of the NALSA ruling. The State should support and implement the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014 passed by the Lok Sabha to ensure reservation in jobs, access to education, housing and various welfare measures to the members of the community,” said Chandramukhi, another member.
The government can issue a GO and set up a Transgender Commission on the lines of the Minorities or Women Commission which could take up cases suo motu and address the problems faced by the community, said Navdeep, another member of the collective.
The states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir, he said, have a Transgender Welfare Board.
“There are no public toilets or restrooms to ease ourselves. Starting from basic rights, the state should extend all welfare measures, ensuring the right for a dignified life for the community,” she said.
Transgenders Hold Dharna
The Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti on Sunday staged a protest urging the government to address their demands. The community demanded to ensure basic rights including housing, medical care, employment, educational reservations and establishment of a statutory transgender welfare board. “As per the NALSA judgment, hijras and transgenders must be provided with government ID cards like ration card, passport, voter id, PAN card etc in their chosen gender identities. Access to bathrooms, public transport, legal recognition, marriage, burial ground and adoption etc can be ensured only by implementation of NALSA judgment,” Karthik Bittu, a key member in the Samithi said. The THITS is planning to hold a dharna and cultural programme to sensitise the general public.