Transgender community in Karnataka welcomes free bus rides
BENGALURU: Representatives of the transgender community in the state, while welcoming the government’s announcement to allow free travel for them on state-run buses, except luxury services, said the success of making public transport inclusive would ultimately depend on its implementation.
— Bhavana Sarangi, Tejalakshmi Suresh & Deepanka HS
Multiple people from the community that TOI spoke to appreciated the Siddaramaiah-led government’s initiative and felt that the decision was in the right direction towards enhancing overall social inclusivity.
Transgender activist Akkai Padmashali said: “As a community, we heartily welcome the inclusivity brought in by this decision. The challenge, however, is verification of documents — address proof, etc — because a lot of transgenders don’t have address proofs. Therefore, a lot will depend on how the government will implement this scheme.”
Padmashali believes the decision will bring about much-needed social justice, given that mobility (transportation) is a key element of being able to live in a society.“There’re more than three lakhs of us and we see this scheme as just the beginning. Access to money, education, power (electricity) and transportation are basic necessities. Being part of this movement for so long, I think this scheme is something that is very close to the community, especially when we talk about the poorest of the poor and the marginalised. I thank the government for this,” she added.
Sana Suman, another activist, said: “The Supreme Court also continues to talk about inclusion of the transgender community and the efforts to have them treated equally on the basis of their fundamental rights. Here, the state government has taken the same stance, so the community welcomes this.”
Suman, however, is unsure about the economic impact of this drive on the community. “… Many from the community never used to travel on public buses. Perhaps now, they will start doing so and because of that the visibility of the community will increase,” Suman added.
Advocate Jayna Kothari said the decision would be extremely useful for the community. “The community faces challenges to find a regular source of income and education and unfortunately drifts into begging and flesh trade … Free bus services will help in overcoming some of the basic hurdles.”
Folk dancer and theatre artist Manjamma Jogathi, a prominent member of the transgender community, said such inclusivity made her happy. Commenting on the likely impact, Jogathi said: “This scheme will promulgate the welfare of the community as a whole.”
Courtesy : TOI
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