THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The historically marginalised transgender community, considered more like aliens than humans even in popular mythology, has been officially recognised by the state as the third gender.
The State Transgender Policy unveils a phalanx of policy measures, including reservation for TGs in jobs and the setting up of a Transgender Justice Board, for the comprehensive uplift of a community ruthlessly pushed to the farthest margins of existence.
That the TG community has been cruelly swatted aside is borne out by the findings of the first-ever survey on TG community in the state.
It was revealed that less than 12 per cent of them have regular jobs; that nearly 60 per cent drop out before they reach 10th standard; and also that 89 per cent has been ill-treated at work.
"The genesis of the problems of TGs in India lies in the stigma and discrimination they face in the society, resulting in their exclusion from socio-economic and political spectrum. They are an outlier group of the society," the State TG Policy states at the outset. The policy recognises that TGs have unique needs, which are overlooked and ignored by the society.
"Though not specifically stated in the policy, this is the first step towards a situation where government offices and public places will even have separate toilets for TGs like we have for males and females," a top Social Justice Department official said.
The four major rights that the policy confers on TGs are: Right to Equality, Right to Dignity and a life without violence, Right to Freedom of Expression, and Right to Equal Participation in Development.
A Transgender Justice Board and district-level transgender committees are the major systems that the policy has recommended to both enforce the rights of TGs and to mainstream the community.
The TG board, which will be chaired by the social justice minister, will have as its members secretaries of a slew of departments like home affairs, finance, health, general education, law, culture, local self government and DPI. District TG committees will be headed by collectors, which will also have representation from the police, health and social justice departments.
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