Trans Doctor Denied Housing: Can We Stop Discriminating Over Gender?

Mumbai Trans Doctor Denied Housing
Food, clothes, and shelter are the basic needs. Education, health facilities, and dignity of life are a few more updated in the list. These are basic needs that every individual requires to survive on earth. What if someone is stripped of something as basic as housing just because of their gender or marital status? Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, who is a doctor by profession and identifies as a transgender woman was refused rental housing in Mumbai’s Pali Hill area of Mumbai. 

Mumbai Trans Doctor Denied Housing

Trinetra shared on her Instagram profile a collage in which she added a screenshot of her WhatsApp chat with a broker, where he spoke of rejection from the house owner. The chat read- “Madam sorry to say now I got a call that owner again gone through your profile and saying if your client is transgender, we cannot proceed further with the deal. I am really sorry to say about this.”

She captioned the collage- “Learned today that you could be a doctor, have several other privileges, but tr*nny ko Pali Hill mein ghar nahi milega bc. Whew.”

Society still has apprehensions about having transgender or LGBTQ community tenants. The hesitations lie in the way society perceives the community and the way they are stereotyped as being dangerous, paedophiles, and having the ability to influence other individuals. Society still lacks the acceptance of gender irrespective of sexuality. The world views binary genders as supreme, while the rest are not even considered. 

In the case of Trinetra, who is well-educated, a doctor, and living a life of dignity as per her choices, society still wants to add up to her struggles. Why non-binary or LGBTQIA communities are denied housing? Aren’t they human enough to have a roof over their heads? Trinetra had her share of struggles to become a doctor, now is struggling to find a house in a decent locality. 

This is not the first discrimination case against the community. We all have heard and witnessed how certain individuals are abandoned by families, or a few walk off from their family homes to end their suffocation and live a life of dignity. But society makes sure to add to their problems. They have to either hide their identity or take housing in deserted areas or slums.

Earlier, A transgender activist, Dr Akkai Padmashali was the first transgender in Karnataka to register for her marriage. She was denied a home loan based on gender grounds. According to a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 30 % of transgender people experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. The Supreme Court in the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) v. Union of India judgment announced that trans-genders have equal human and fundamental rights. However, in actuality from recognition to getting employed, the transgender community is struggling. The government has initiated housing and skilling programs, but for how long it can help in sustaining their life and livelihood? 

Also, many times due to societal inhuman behaviour, transgender individuals are often traumatised. Chandani, a transgender woman who lives in Pune, shared her experience of choosing her sexuality over what society thinks. According to her, the struggles of transgender, are never-ending, it starts from within and there is no end. People don’t even want to hire trans individuals. Chandani pointed out it is a society that pushes us into filth and also sets the narrative about us.

Everyone deserves housing irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation. The government should make sure to take action against people who discriminate on basis of gender or sexuality. If the government cannot monitor such incidents, be NALSA judgement or other policies nothing will work out.

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