In a society where genders are identified based on their attire, transgenders participate in the first state-level transgender Adalat organised by the Kerala State Youth Commission here on Tuesday and air their grievances.
Renju Renjimar a renowned make-up artist came dressed in a traditional Keralite saree donning a round bindi on her forehead.
"I am happy to attend an 'Adalat' which is for the first time discussing our problems. We have calibre... We have talent...but more often it is not recognised at all. We are kept within the boundary of the male and female binary. After all our achievements the society is not ready to fully accept us. The efforts taken by the State Youth Commission to address our problems is really appreciative," said Renju.
The highly sought after make-up artist who has made a mark in the industry and is inundated with work says she wants to be a representative of the transgender community.
"I have made a suggestion for more shelter homes to be started for transgenders. We need 'transwoman' shelter home too. The outlook of society towards transgenders is yet to change but somehow with our collective work we have to change it," said Renju.
Like Renju, many other transgenders arrived from different parts of the state to voice their concerns at the Adalat. Kerala already has a transgender policy in place.
"I was earlier working with the transgender cell of the Kerala government. I have presented a few suggestions in the Adalat to improve the overall life of transgenders. If we take the job sector, transgenders are not considered for jobs. It shows that even today how society is viewing transgenders. There are no Public Service Commission reservations for the transgender community. If we take transgenders as a minority, the reservation benefits given to SC, ST, OBC etc should also be extended to transgenders," said Laya a participant.
Laya added, "This will help to give them job security. There is a small section which possesses high educational qualifications. Steps should be taken to ensure education to others. Also, we face a lot of discrimination from society and also face personal attacks. When a transgender opens up to their family about their identity most of the time family abandon them. We have to get acceptance in society and the new generation should understand it. The law should grant protection to uphold gender equality."
The 'Adalat' saw good participation with more than 50 complaints being registered apart from various suggestions from transgenders from across the state.
Chintha Jerome, chairperson, Kerala State Youth Commission told ANI that more than 50 complaints were registered apart from suggestions and recommendations to improve the visibility of transgenders.
"There are a lot of complaints they faced as a community and that needs to be addressed. One issue they pointed out is that while they are have been provided transgender status in the Aadhar card but in the voter identity cards they are still termed as the third gender. They don't want to be identified as a third gender. The Youth Commission will write to the Election Commission regarding this," Jerome said.
Youth Commission based on the complaints and suggestions would recommend the state government for the speedy redressal of their problems.
Jerome said that members of the transgender group also flagged the issue of delays in getting transgender cards issued by the state government.
"Another proposal to start a transgender shelter in every district will also be taken up. Also, the lack of proper data regarding transgenders is a problem that we need to address. The Youth Commission also received individual complaints regarding instances of atrocities they faced from family and society which we will look into and further sittings will be conducted to hear it," added Jerome.
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