Kashish from Mumbai is dancing beautifully on stage to an old Bollywood song.
She is a member of the ‘Dancing Queens”, a famous dance group of India, comprising of only transgender.
She tried to do a different job as a receptionist but was made to feel unwelcomed.
“The men in the office would stare at me and make me feel uncomfortable. Many of them tried to use me. I could not work and was forced to resign within a month. I was so scared,” Kashish said.
Harsha is the next performer at this the third India national convention of transgender people.
It sponsored by a New Delhi-based non-profit organization India HIV/Aids Alliance.
Almost 350 people from the community gathered in a five-star hotel in the capital to discuss the issues affecting them.
She says her family is the problem.
“My family has not accepted my gender. I just want to say I am also a human being. I really want my parents to please accept me,” Harsha asked.
India’s Supreme Court ruled in April 2014 that transgender people could identify themselves as members of a third gender on official documents.
Ambalika Roy was one of the lawyers involved in the case.
She says while the law was important it has not stop the prejudice against the community.
“See, a law cannot change the mindset of the people; it is just a weapon to help the community access their rights. From schools you are dropping out because you don’t get that kind of a protection which you require because you are different. You cannot work safely because you don’t have any sexual harassment at work place laws. The system should provide you that kind of a protection so that you don’t get in to that traps of constant harassment and constant discrimination; the state has to do it,” Ambalika said.
The upper house of India’s parliament has already passed a bill that will create quota systems for transgender people in the education system and in some professional.
It will also provide financial aid for transgender people in need.
The lower house has yet to discuss and pass the bill.
The leaders of transgender ask the community to compel all the parliamentarians to vote in favor of the bill.
Abhina Aher a well known Transgender activist sees this bill as crucial.
“The only space where transgender are employed is the Non-Government Organization and that’s not something which is healthy. I want to see people employed in media, I want to see people taking my interview. I want to see a ticket collector who is a transgender. People who are begging on the traffic signals, why can’t they control a signal? The Government has to realize that if you don’t give them an opportunity and special privilege to these people, these people will not be able to come to equal power.”
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a noted transgender film actress says it’s time for change.
“We are still struggling even after the Supreme Court’s verdict. If we don’t do anything today, our community will be begging on streets for the next 200 years and our future generations will be forced to sell our bodies for mere some coins,” Laxmi predicted.
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