Members of the Tamil Nadu transgender community wrote to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking inclusion in welfare schemes allocated for women. The trans community sought free travel in buses and job opportunities along with other needs.
Former member of the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board P Kajol wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Cell. Kajol also approached the Chief Minister via social media to emphasise that transgender women are also women that deserve the government’s welfare schemes.
Kajol spoke to The Hindu and mentioned that while in the past various ministers were photographed helping transgender women, they ignored them otherwise. She said that “I am asking that the government to extend the same benefits that they have given to women, to us. After all, we are women too.”
The list of demands includes that the Tamil Nadu transgender community be allowed free travel in buses, job opportunities via reservation, and inclusion in ancestral property matters. Kajol said that the welfare schemes would help lift trans women from poverty and positively impact the lives of transgender women. She added that many transgender women were disowned by their families, thrown out of their homes, and don’t receive a share of their ancestral property.
மகளிர் நலன் – உரிமை ஆகியவற்றுடன் திருநங்கையர் வாழ்வையும் இணைத்தே சிந்திப்பது தலைவர் கலைஞர் காலந்தொட்டே திமுக அரசின் வழக்கம்.
தாங்கள் அதனை கவனப்படுத்தியமைக்கு நன்றி.
பெண்களைப் போலவே திருநங்கையரும் கட்டணமின்றிப் பயணிப்பது குறித்து பரிசீலித்து, உரிய முடிவு விரைந்து எடுக்கப்படும். https://t.co/NSxVBP6nzJ
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) May 8, 2021
Chief Minister MK Stalin said that his government would consider including transgender people in the free bus ride scheme. He said it has been “the practice of the DMK government” to think of transgender people “in conjunction with women’s welfare and rights”. Stalin said that transgender people would be considered for the free travel scheme and added that the government would take the appropriate decision.
In 2008, Tamil Nadu had established India’s first welfare board for transgender people under the DMK government. The board is responsible for empowering the Tamil Nadu transgender community, by acknowledging their identity and providing trans people with the ‘aravani’ identity card. The ‘aravani’ identity card helps transgender people benefit from government schemes. Former members of the Transgender Welfare Board alleged that the board is now completely inactive.