Wednesday December 19, 2018
Home India For India&#82...

For India’s Third Gender, getting a shelter Home is an Uphill Battle

In 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered that transgenders be treated as the third gender and be given reservations on the lines of those for OBCs

1
//
(Representational Image) Transgender, India. Image source: Sami Siva / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Republish
Reprint
  • Kinnar Maa Samajik Sanstha Trust had requested for a separate ashram for the transgenders in Mumbai
  • The Delhi High Court had struck down Section 377 in 2009 but the Supreme Court reversed this in 2013
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered that transgenders be treated as the third gender

New Delhi– They are ostracised, humiliated and sneered at, and yet India’s transgender community continues to battle for their rights amid all opposition. Fida, a member of India’s first transgender group — 6 Pack Band – says the community in the Mumbai region aspires for an ashram of its own, but they have yet not been able to get the land for it.

According to Fida, an organisation called the Kinnar Maa Samajik Sanstha Trust had requested for a separate ashram for the transgenders in Mumbai, but they are yet to get the work done.

There are a lot of handicapped kinnars (transgenders) who are either homeless, or who have faced acid attacks. Some of them have sustained injuries after being thrown from trains while begging. There are old age ashrams, but there is nothing for the transgenders, she added.

Street protest by LGBT community. Image source: thegayfacts.com
Street protest by LGBT community. Image source: thegayfacts.com

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalises homosexuality and activists of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community have been fighting a legal battle asking for the law to be revoked on grounds that it violates their human rights.

The Delhi High Court had struck down Section 377 in 2009 but the Supreme Court reversed this in 2013. It heard the matter again earlier this year but stood by its previous judgement.

Thereafter, a group of celebrities, including celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia, approached the apex court to quash the penal provision. The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to examine the fresh petition, saying it will be placed before Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur.

India LGBT Participants pose during "Queer Azadi Mumbai 2009" (Queer Freedom Mumbai 2009), a parade for gay and lesbian rights, in Mumbai August 16, 2009.REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe
India LGBT
Participants pose during “Queer Azadi Mumbai 2009” (Queer Freedom Mumbai 2009), a parade for gay and lesbian rights, in Mumbai August 16, 2009. Image source: REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

In 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered that transgenders be treated as the third gender and be given reservations on the lines of those for OBCs (other backward classes).

Last November, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for treating transgenders with greater sensitivity. We need to amend and make new laws for transgenders, he had said.

Like several others fighting for their rights, Fida said that the trust has been battling for the last five to six years to get permission for the ashram but owing to political issues, they are yet to get this.

We have been fighting to get this ashram for the last five to six years. We have asked for an ashram in Thane, Fida told IANS on the phone from Mumbai.

Fida has now gained fame with 6 Pack Band, which won the coveted Cannes Grand Prix Glass Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival. It was given to the group for espousing a social cause. Backed by Yash Raj Films’ youth-wing Y-Films, the group has even worked with industry stalwarts like Sonu Nigam and Hrithik Roshan, who have given them support.

Fida says that she wants to use this platform to help her community.

Now people know our six-member band, but who knows the thousands of people in our community? Who will be our voice? I want to take the opportunity to play in the band to express the desires of our community in front of the public, she said.

Due to the lack of an ashram, Fida rued that the already marginalised transgender community of India is forced to beg on the streets or work at bars.

Those who are rotting on the street are still suffering, those who are working in beer bars are still stuck there. We have been ignored. We will die on the streets. The government is not giving attention to us, she said.

In 2015, the Kinnar Maa Samajik Sanstha Trust had organised a Pink Rally to demand equal rights for the transgender community in India. Fida said that despite such rallies and the support they garner, India’s transgenders are yet to find firm footing in society.

Nobody helped us. We organised the Pink Rally, but after some hulabulloo everything quietened down. Nobody does anything, she lamented.

The ostracism for transgenders in the country is so heightened, says Fida, that members of the community even find it difficult to live in rented houses.

Wherever we stay at rent, the people say, ‘Why have you kept this hijra?’ Then where do we go? That is why we need the ashram so that we can live respectfully with our own community, she noted. (IANS)

ALSO READ:

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    A separate ashram could isolate them from the community in which they are living. Instead giving them homes where everybody else lives is a better idea

Next Story

Madhya Pradesh Waives off $5.3Bn in Farm Debt

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year.

0
India, farmers, farm
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The new leader of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to waive up to $5.3 billion of farm loans, becoming the latest area to offer relief ahead of a national election next year as farmers reel from losses caused by falling crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost the central state to Congress last week dealing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of the vote next year.

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who became chief minister of the state on Monday, decided to write off farmers’ loans up to 200,000 rupees, according to a notification.

farmers, Bank
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Protests on the rise

Farmers’ protests have been rising in past months due to the fall in crop prices and a rise in the cost of diesel and fertilizer.

Nearly 3.4 million farmers will benefit from the loan waiver, which is likely to cost between 350 billion rupees ($4.9 billion) to 380 billion rupees ($5.3 billion), Rajesh Rajora, the state’s principal secretary for agriculture, told Reuters.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year. (VOA)