State plans welfare body for transgenders

Formal education,dedicated libraries and sports facilities are some of the welfare activities that the Maharashtra government plans to undertake for the transgender community in the state.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 8, 2014 5:33 pm

Formal education,dedicated libraries and sports facilities are some of the welfare activities that the Maharashtra government plans to undertake for the transgender community in the state.

After it dedicated a chapter on the transgender community in its women’s policy that is currently being finalised,the state has now been offered help by the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) office in setting up a welfare board for the transgender community.

An official from the state’s Women and Child Development ministry said this board would be constituted on the lines of the Labour Welfare Board. “All aspects of their social and economic lives are being looked into. Facing neglect,this community is hardly ever exposed to formal education and healthcare. The board will be set up once the women’s policy is finalised,” he said.

Women and Child Welfare Minister Varsha Gaikwad said she had a meeting with UNDP India’s resident coordinator Lise Grande in New Delhi on August 6. “Grande said they would provide the ministry with two consultants to help us collect data,conduct surveys and prepare guidelines for the board,” said Gaikwad.

Laxmi Tripathi,a transgender rights activist,has worked out the recommendations for welfare of the transgender community.

“The aim is to uplift transgenders and their families in a holistic manner. The board will provide sports facilities,formal education set-ups,libraries and will organise programmes to create employment and self-employment opportunities. It will also run health-related programmes and provide legal help to the community for free,” said the official.

Blaming stigma and discrimination as major obstacles in accessing health services,the policy calls for sensitisation of the medical fraternity on issues of sex workers and transgenders,besides consistent training,awareness on HIV and creation of a grievance redress cell in every hospital to record community complaints and take action.

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