Transgenders seek national welfare board

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Organisations of transgender and sexual and gender minorities from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on Thursday urged Lok Sabha members to ensure the passage of the transgender bill and to set up a national welfare board for the community.

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2014 is scheduled to be tabled in the upcoming session of the Lok Sabha.

The organisations urged the government to demonstrate its will by implementing the directives laid out in the 2014 Supreme Court judgment – in which it recognised the transgender community as a third gender.

Representatives of these organisations would be meeting the social justice and empowerment ministry officials on Thursday for a national level welfare board for them.

The representatives said the main gains from the Supreme Court ruling was that it ensured the basic rights for them by guaranteeing “reservation in education and jobs, financial aid and social inclusion”.

Rajesh Umadevi, director of Sangama, said: “To translate commitments into action, governments must constitute national and state-level transgender welfare board.”

“The board will devise strategies to implement reservations in education, provide employment for transgender persons and ensure social inclusion of all identities of sexual minorities including trans-men under the all encompassing term of transgender.”

Sangama is a Bengaluru-based NGO working for the rights of sexual minorities.

Jeeva, a founder member of V-CAN Network, which also works for the rights of sexual minorities, told IANS: “If there is any case of sexual abuse among the transgenders, there is no committee to address their issue. It is necessary to have a body working for transgenders.”

Representing trans-men, Christy Raj from Karnataka, said trans-men or female to male trans-persons are further marginalised within the gender minorities.

“Our concerns need to be heard and it is important that we be involved in the designing and formulating of schemes for our community members,” Raj added.

For the first time in 45 years, the Rajya Sabha on April 24 unanimously passed a private member’s bill to accord equal rights to transgenders.

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, calls for equal rights and reservation to transgenders and envisages creation of a national commission and state-level commissions for transgender communities.

“We need to become economically empowered and more importantly to ensure that community members’ right to decide their self-identified gender, as ensured by the Supreme Court judgment and set up ‘Transgender Support and Crisis Intervention Centres’ across the country to provide Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) services,” said Veena, a transgender from Karnataka.

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