Inclusive India: Government Plans To Open Shelter Homes For Transgender Community
In April 2014, in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India allotted the ‘third gender’ status to transgenders. The judgement was aimed at providing employment opportunities to the socially-backward community and help ease access to educational institutes.
While this was a huge victory, we still have a long way to go, as far as their acceptance in society is concerned. That, however, is something that will come gradually.
In an effort to help the transgender community, the Centre is considering opening shelter homes for them. The project will run for an year in three to five states, and each shelter home will accommodate 25 people.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will soon put out a formal notice for the NGOs for running shelter homes. According to the New Indian Express, a potential location is the national capital.
“The shelter homes would serve the purpose of halfway homes… We are coming across several cases where people from the transgender community have been abandoned by their families, are vulnerable to risk and are forced into begging. These homes would not only be able to provide infrastructural support to them but will also help build a support system among them,” a senior official, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,
In these shelter homes, they will supposedly have access to skill training programmes for professional courses, that they can choose to pursue. The ministry is also planning to tie up with the National Institute of Social Defence, and National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation, in order to impart skills to transgenders.
The objective of these professional courses is to help them get jobs and become independent citizens.
“The programmes have to be so designed that people from the community find a viable form of livelihood once the course is over. Finding them employment would be another challenge. Alongside imparting skills, it is important to raise awareness among people so that transgender people do not face social stigma and discrimination,”
This is a laudable initiative by the government, but this is only half the victory. It is important to sensitise people towards this community, their challenges, and the fact that they should not be treated as aberrations. They deserve dignity and respect as much as any of us.
Courtesy : India Times