Members from the transgender and eunuch community Saturday came together, demanding equality and special privileges for themselves to live with dignity in society.
At the first Hijra Habba (festival), held at the International Youth Centre, members of the community discussed the problems that eunuchs and the transgender community face, and the ways these problems could be removed.
They sought to discuss issues like poor education policy, low political representation, social stigma attached to them in public places, legal aspects of sex change, problems regarding sex determination for making passport, and also health related problems that they face.
Gauri Sawant, general secretary, Transgender and Hijra Welfare Board of Maharashtra, said: “In India, cases of violence go unreported as the present social and legal environment is oppressive towards transgender persons and Hijras.”
“Due to their different health identity, they are denied opportunities to earn a living, to study and to access health services. Even changing their names and sex in official documents is not easy.”
The conference saw participation of activists from states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
“The poverty and harassment that our community faces are hideous. We face social stigma wherever we go, be it any hospital, public place or educational institute, our presence is always resented. We aim to change that,” said Archana, a transgender activist.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, president of Asia Pacific Transgender Network, said: “We can change people’s perception if we want to and get our work done, but one should have the will to change things.”
“I want the government to give a separate set of privileges to hijras and transgenders, for example create a different type of sex in the passport as ‘others’ and not label us as males at one time and female at another,” She said.