Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has become the first state in the country to constitute a transgender cell at social justice directorate with the appointment of four employees. The cell has been formed to support the state transgender justice board and district transgender justice committees. Syama S. Prabha from Thiruvananthapuram has become the cell's first state project officer. Laya Maria Jason from Kottayam and Shruti Sithara from Ernakulam will serve as project assistants. R. Dev, a transman from Pathanamthitta, has been appointed as office assistant. The others are transwomen.
The transgender policy unveiled in 2015 talks of functions of a 'Gender Cell.' These include implementing measures or instructions by the TG board and issuing gender identity certificate to a TG person based on the recommendation of the district-level committee. Syama says, "we will support the activities of the board and committees so that the basic needs of transgender persons, including homes and employment, are addressed. We will also oversee timely and effective utilisation of funds earmarked for transgender persons."
The need for a transgender cell was apparent when the social justice department issued flawed identity cards for transgender persons. The cards had marked their sex and not their gender as transgender. Activists feel that had there been a representation from TG community in the department, the faux pas could have been avoided. The cell, which will function from Vikas Bhavan, will better the channel of communication between the department and agencies like the board and committees, they hope.