Chennai: Over a hundred members from the transgender community across the city gathered in Perumbakkam to discuss their struggles and ways to overcome them, in their vibrant, extravagant, ‘never-say-die’ spirit that they are recognised for.
The meeting, organised by Pharm Foundation, an NGO, dedicated to the development and wellbeing of the transgender community outlined the
education, employment and legal access that is available for them. “Every trans woman says that they have been sidelined by society, society doesn’t treat them equally. It’s not the society. There is no point blaming something else. You must be aware of your rights in the country,” said Dhaya, whom they call ‘Amma’ as she took hundreds of transwomen under her wing when they had to leave home.
“We are not bad. The way people look at us is bad. That makes some of us do bad things. We have transwomen who are heads of department in prominent colleges, who are HR managers and models. How did they do it all? Perseverance is the key,” she added.
Speaking at the gathering, I Jayanthi, Secretary and Judge, District Legal Services Authority, said that most transwomen did not know that a ration card, Aadhaar card and other government schemes could be acquired.
“Love is a weapon greater than anything else in the world. The Supreme Court’s judgment on Section 377 highlighted ‘just as I am,’ which means everybody is equal in the world. Everybody is our children,” she said. She also urged the women to visit her at her office in North Fort Road whenever they needed to.
Pallikaranai inspector, Albin Raj too, promised to ensure that their rights were protected. “We have invited so many transwomen to our station to understand their needs. Many of them don’t know what rights they have, be it the social welfare ID or a job,” he said.
The meeting was held at the Perumbakkam Panchayat Community Hall with the support of secretary, Jayaraman. He gave the hall for free and also took part in it, said Nila M, managing trustee, Pharm Foundation. “We have had only each other in our journey of life. We want to be a support system for anybody else who has left home,” she said. Schools need to teach children about equality and sensitise them, Nila added....