THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Members of the community strongly feel the need for a representative who will stand up for their rights. Grace Banu, founder and director of Trans Rights Now Collective says the Lok Sabha must have a reserved seat for the transgender community."We want reservation for a candidate from our community. Only our representative can vouch and speak for us - the obstacles we face, belonging to the LGBTIQA+ community," she says. Along with members of the collective, she spoke to political party persons. "Regardless of our conversation, none of them were willing to hear us out. Their manifesto cites empowerment of the LGBTIQA+ community but it does not amount to anything," she says.
Grace complained about the meagre pension - Rs 1,000, given to the community. "The money is inadequate for us. Society is unwilling to accept our stay amongst them, therefore we need to pay an amount exceeding Rs 6,000 per month. Keeping this in mind, the government must consider our plea to increase the pension amount," she says.
Sukanyeah Krishna does not want to confine herself within the LGBTIQA+ umbrella. An Amnesty International Rights activist, she questions the need for gender verification informs. Contemplating the long term goal of the LGBTIQA+ community she says, "More importance must be given to education. Only education can make a difference in the community. Though skill developments and training have immediate effect, the community must be encouraged for higher education."
Lack of education stems into various negative aspects. "The hindrances faced by the community cause serious mental pressure among inmates. It can be curbed only through education," she says. "I wanted to work like a normal human being and earn for myself. But I was not allowed to do so. They believe trans people are meant for prostitution. Adhering to the rules of the community was not easy for me and I was on the verge of suicide. There are many like me who haven't found a platform to talk about their problems - such a platform must be provided by the government," she says.
According to Prijith K, founder, Queerythm LGBTIQA+ community, Thiruvananthapuram, the Indian Constitution ensures equality, but the same is not given to the LGBTIQA+ community. "Though homosexuality has been legalised, equal status and marriage rights have not been given to us. Thus the representatives in the parliament must ensure equal status among the entire community. A court order is not enough, rather a bill that addresses all the rights including the right to adopt a child must be given," he says.