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24 Feb 2024, Edition - 3147, Saturday

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Transgender Welfare Board exists in name only, alleges transgender activist Kalki Subramanian

U Bharath


The Transgender Welfare Board, constituted by the Tamil Nadu Government in 2008, exists in name only as it has failed to address the plight of over 30,000 transgenders in the State, who are languishing without livelihood and educational opportunities, said transgender rights activist Kalki Subramaniam.

Speaking to Covai Post, Kalki said, “Transgender students should be given admission in any school, be it boys or girls school, which is not the case now, and the Government should come forward to start vocational training schools exclusively for transgender persons as it would help them pursue viable livelihoods.

“As many transgender persons don’t have any educational qualifications, vocational training imparted to them will come in handy to pursue a livelihood with some measure of dignity,” said Kalki, who is helping many students pursue their education.

The depressing fact is that often the immediate family of a transgender does not recognise them and the society at large is yet to fully understand the third gender and their psycho-social problems. Stigmatising them and denying them equal opportunities in education and jobs have only made their condition worse.

“As a result the transgender community continues to languish on the margins of society, without livelihood and dignity of life. Resorting to begging and prostitution can be said to be a direct outcome of stigmatising the transgender community,” said Kalki, a successful transwoman, activist, actor and painter, who has acted in the Tamil movie “Narthagi.”

Alleging a lack of political will on the part of the powers that be to bring about the desired changes in the life of transgenders, Kalki said that the present government should extend all help to the transgender community.

As per the current transgender welfare policy in Tamil Nadu, transgender persons can get access to free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in Government hospitals. A free housing program, issuance of various citizenship documents, admissions in government colleges with full scholarship for higher studies and alternative sources of livelihood through self-help groups and initiating income-generation programmes (IGP) are some of the measures which should be adopted for the emancipation of the third gender.

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