City transgenders face sexual abuse: PU study
Findings reveal 92.3% feel unsafe, 88% report police harassment
Transgenders in Chandigarh face sexual abuse, police harassment, transphobic attacks and find difficulty in getting jobs, says a Panjab University (PU) study.
Squadron Leader Mandeep Kaur Chawla (retd) of University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), PU, conducted the study, ‘Socio-legal Concerns of Transgenders : An Analytical Study With Special Reference to Chandigarh’. Prof Rattan Singh and Dr Gulshan Kumar of UILS supervised the first such study on transgenders in Chandigarh.
The study covered 52 transgenders. According to the 2011 Census, there is a population of 142 transgenders in the city.
According to the study, 96.2%, which implies 50 out of 52 respondents, have told that they are victims of sexual abuse and 98.1% said sexual abuse was rampant against the transgender community in society.
The research concludes that the transgender community is harassed by the police. About 88% of transgenders said police harassment was a matter of fact. They were judgemental in their approach in times of need.
The findings revealed that over 98% of transgenders claimed that they had faced discrimination because of being transgenders.
An overwhelming majority, 92.3%, responded that they felt unsafe in their part of the city, whereas only 7.7% felt safe in their neighbourhood. Also, 92.3% of respondents faced transphobic attacks. It was also found that 63% of the respondents considered urban areas safe.
Difficult to find jobs
The study revealed that transgenders were forced to take menial or non mainstream occupations as employers were transphobic. Even jobs like sweeping and cleaning were not available.
The study said 38.5% were engaged in the work of extending wishes (badhai) to newly married couples and to families where a boy was born.
While 21.2% were engaged in sex work, 17.3% were into begging, 7.7% into dancing and singing, 7.7% had independent work and 5.8 % were not working, the findings revealed.
“Among the surveyed transgenders, 38.5 % are drawing less than Rs 5,000, while 48.1% have income between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000,” said Squadron Leader Chawla.
She said, “Even in few cases where transgenders are recruited, they complain of ill treatment. Many a times, they are subjected to sexual harassment. Cross-dressing is not considered acceptable in the working environment.”
Sex re-assignment surgery
Sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) is performed on transgenders with gender dysphoria to their desired gender. Gender dysphoria is the feeling that one is born in the wrong gender wherein a biological male identifies more as a female or vice-versa. The surgery costs between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 7 lakh. According to the findings, 34.7% of the surveyed trangenders have gone ahead with SRS, while 54% wants to undergo the surgery.
“With virtually no social support, restricted means of livelihood, discrimination from all sections of society and apathy from the government, transgenders remain vulnerable to many psychological problems,” said the study. An overwhelming majority of 94.2% transgenders reported that they faced psychological problems due to identity crisis.
However, the opinion is sharply divided over whether transgenders are inherently disadvantaged in terms of physical and intellectual abilities. The study revealed that 50% of transgenders felt they were disadvantaged in matters of physical and intellectual ability.
Courtesy: The Tribune