LGBTQ activists hit the streets in Kolkata against alleged inaction of transgender development board

Members of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer (LGBTQ) community hit the streets in Kolkata on Monday against the inaction of the West Bengal Transgender Development Board in fulfilling the promises with which it was formed in June 2015.

The agitation was led by popular city-based LGBTQ activist Ranjita Sinha, who was herself in the first team of board members when it was formed in 2015 under the state Women & Child Development and Social Welfare Department.

“The board was formed following the recommendation of the National Legal Services Authority. However, over time, the board has just remained in papers and not a single promise with which it was formed has been fulfilled as yet. The long-standing demand of the community was for a separate identity card, which the state government promised to provide. But even after seven years since its formation, that promise is yet to be fulfilled,” she said.

Similarly, she added, that the promises for reservation in the state-run educational institutions and state government jobs are yet to be fulfilled.

Debangshi Biswas, another city-based LGBTQ activist, pointed out that they have come to know from the activists in other states that the respective state governments there have started providing binary cards to the people of the community.

“When the board was formed, another promise was making provisions for sex-assignment surgeries in the state-run medical colleges and hospitals at subsidised rates. But that promise is yet to be fulfilled. People from the community either have to go for costlier private SRS services or go to other states for the same,” Biswas told IANS.

It is learnt that another promise of the board was for creation of separate public toilets for the community members. However, the activists said that not a single such toilet has been constructed so far, even in state capital Kolkata.

Despite repeated attempts, Minister of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Shashi Panja, who is also the chairperson of the board, could not be contacted for her comments, as her mobile phone was unreachable.

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