State to present policy on transgenders at gender conference

ICGE 1 to have round table on equal rights policy for third gender


Thiruvananthapuram, November 6: It may seem like a list of the most basic rights and privileges, including getting officially identified as the ‘third gender’, but the Kerala’s government policy is a big step towards creating a dignified life for the much-abused and harassed transgenders (TGs).

The ‘State Policy for Transgenders in Kerala 2015’, which is set to be presented at the International Conference for Gender Equality (ICGE) 1, supports a society which offers TGs equal rights to development opportunities and resources, the right to “enjoy life free from all forms of violence”, freedom of expression and the right to participate in the state’s decision-making processes.

A round-table on the policy will take place on November 13, the second day of the three-day international conference that will be held at KTDC’s Samudra Convention Centre, Kovalam. Department of Social Justice (DSJ) director Shri V N Jitendran will chair the discussion.

Kerala’s policy presentation follows on the Supreme Court’s April 2014 ruling for equality for the third gender and the apex court’s judgment directing state governments to grant TGs full legal recognition of their gender identity.

 A DSJ survey on TGs—numbering more than 25,000—in Kerala, found that their situation to be grim, particularly because of the harassment that they face on various fronts. While 58 per cent drop out of school before completing class ten, only 11.6 per cent have a regular job.

Nearly 80 per cent do not reveal their gender identity at the work place, and while most of them have faced harassment or discrimination at work, from the police and even in hospitals, 96 per cent do not raise complaints against violence.

“TG people face injustice at every turn, starting from their homes, schools, workplaces,” said Dr M K Munner, Minister for Social Justice and Panchayats. “The state’s gender policy document is the first step towards comprehensive legislation and execution of a fair system of inclusive governance.”

Apart from goal and objectives, the draft document outlines policy approaches, involving the police and various government departments, to ensure that the rights of TGs are protected and enforced. It also lists strategies and responsibilities in implementation that includes non-discriminatory treatment in government departments, and guidelines to ensure access to education, public transport, health and other services.

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