The Indian LGBTQ community has always had to live under tense conditions, without access to many basic rights. The trend has been changing lately, with the constant awareness and empowerment of the transgender community in India.
Following the footsteps of many South Indian states, Andhra Pradesh has set up a welfare board for its transgender community. The board has been welcomed by the fellow trans gendered citizens. It has been set up at the Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupathi and is named as “Andhra Pradesh Hijra Transgender Welfare Board”.
A transgender rights activist, Rachana Mudraboyini, who was present at the inauguration ceremony wishes that this welfare board would help in fighting for the rights of the transgender community.
“I hope the board will help prevent sexual, mental and physical harassment we are subjected to very often,” said Rachana. “This, as a recognized organisation might help us with money and education too,” she added.
The welfare would function on the principle of democracy. Voting rights would be given to everyone, including minorities. After the board was launched, a seminar was held in which discussed issues faced by the transgender community. They include harassment, sexual abuse, neglect and isolation from the society. Social issues such as discrimination, jobs and separate washrooms at public places were also a topic for discourse.
“A welfare board is a government institution. It should not be in any way a hierarchical structure. I hope that the welfare board will serve the young members of the community irrespective of their identities,” said Karthik Kondaiah, Associate Professor at Ashoka University.
“It should cater not only to visible trans women but also to trans men, gender fluid trans persons and give the minorities in the transgender community an opportunity to study or work,” he added.
It is amazing how the transgender community is being uplifted and empowered. At a slow and steady pace, it will hopefully gain momentum throughout the country.