Kerala has become a pioneer in addressing the problems of transgender community and is taking significant steps to end their social isolation. Last month, the state government organised a first of a kind sports event for transgenders in Thiruvananthapuram in which persons of the community from around the country participated. Also Kochi Metro was in news for recruiting 23 members of the transgender community for different roles. Later, an MNC in the state hired a transgender woman as an HR employee.
With the Kerala State Literacy Mission launching a continuing education programme for the transgender community, scores of transgender persons, who had to drop out midway due to social stigma or financial hurdles, are likely to return to restart their studies. The mission had carried out a 10-day survey in March to identify transgenders who want to continue their studies. The results of the survey was overwhelming as the number of aspirants to continue their studies are more than 100 in almost all districts, except in Wayanad and Idukki, according to The News
“Most of them had left studies between the fourth and the seventh standard. Those who won’t be able to directly join the tenth and higher secondary classes will be accommodated in the fourth and seventh equivalency programmes in due course,” said Sreekutty, State President of SGMF. The Mission has decided to arrange separate classes for transgender persons in districts, where the number of learners exceeds 15.
The official statistics of the Social Justice Department of 2014 puts the number of transgender persons in Kerala at 4,000. But Srekutty said the offcial data is not correct as there are nearly 25000 people, they have not been taken into account due to pooer visibility. Additinally the parents do not want to reveal that their child is a transgender due to the social stigma surrounding it.
“So for the census, as well as for the study of the literacy mission, we went to places where the visibility of transgender persons are high like parks and other public places,” Sreekutty added.