Kolkata, June 21 (IANS) Breaking new ground, Kolkata’s Jiya Das has become the first transgender Operation Theatre technician in an Indian hospital, but theatre artists and actors from the community still face discrimination in the culture-loving city, say activists.
Jiya, who once had to dance at gun point in soirees in Uttar Pradesh, is now working in a city-based super-specialty hospital, said Bappaditya Mukherjee, Secretary, Prantakatha, an organisation working for marginalised youth.
“For young people, it is very important to get livelihood. Almost one and half years back, we organised an event called ‘Saathrangi’. During that event, a health entrepreneur said that he will take two members of the transgender community and train them as OT technicians.
“Today Jiya Das is the first transgender OT technician in the country,” said Mukherjee.
Jiya is treated at par with others in the hospital, he said at a panel discussion titled “South Asian Dialogue on LGBTQI Youth and Livelihood Discrimination” at the American Centre on Wednesday.
However, Ranjita Sinha, member of the West Bengal Transgender Board, said problems of the transgender community are getting confused with female issues.
“I respect all members of LGBTQI community but transgenders are always visible, hence they face discrimination and violence all the time. The census still is not clear on the transgender community and we are mixing our issues with female issues,” said Sinha.
“The West Bengal Transgender Board is supported by the women and child development and social welfare board. I have no idea where the movement is heading,” added Sinha.
An activist-cum-theatre personality Anurag Maitrayee said that there is politics between the privileged and non-privileged within the LGBTQ community.
To understand the pulse one has to step out and visit the interiors to know what the person actually feels.
“For transgender people, monetary exploitation in the field of art and entertainment is tremendous, which must be addressed. We are made to understand that we are at least getting some work,” said Maitrayee.
Samarpan Maiti, who finished second runner-up at the Mr Gay World 2018, shared his ordeal and how he faced discrimination in reputed institutes of Kolkata.
The condition in rural areas is even worse.
“I have seen parents cutting all financial aid for a lesbian girl and not letting them continue their education out of fear that if they are financially independent they will not succumb to the pressures of getting married. They are forcibly married off,” said Subhagata Ghosh, one of the founder members of Sappho for Equality, a Kolkata based 19 year old organisation working for lesbians and bisexual and transgender women.
She also mentioned that the condition in the rural and suburban regions is all the more difficult, citing the recent suicide of two girls amid some evidence that they were in love.
“Now in that village parents are trying to restrict all the girls from going to school thinking they would become vulnerable and do something like this,” said Ghosh.