Mangalore, August 4, 2014
Integration of sexual minorities with the mainstream society got a shot in the arm here on Saturday with the distribution of identity cards and introduction of pension schemes for them.
At a function here on Saturday, 30 people were given identity cards, while, pension cheques were distributed to four beneficiaries under the Maithri scheme which will see transgenders receive Rs. 500 as pension.
With a serial number of “0001”, Rajesh, alias Shakeela, who is the president of the Navasahaja Samudaya Sanghatane, Mangalore, became the first transgender to obtain the identity card. The card contains a photograph and the name of the beneficiary.
Though the card doesn’t carry address proof – which excludes the transgenders from obtaining ration cards or voter ID cards – Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said this was a small step towards developing a comprehensive identity card.
“The aim is to ensure all 1,672 members of the community are given ration cards and voters ID cards before the next election. For now, the identity can provide an identity to a community that is on the margins of society,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner said that an action plan for the rehabilitation of the community – where poverty and sex work is rampant – would be complete in six months.
Mr. Ibrahim said the district administration was in touch with private hospitals in the hope that they would employ sexual minorities as security guards among other jobs.
Apart from these, officials said 35 persons from the community had been provided skill development training by the Department of Women and Child Development, and Rs. 7 lakh as financial aid to self-help groups, and self-employment of 15 transgenders.
J.R. Lobo, MLA, and Ivan D’Souza, MLC, who distributed the cards, stressed on the need to bring sexual minorities into the mainstream.
Courtesy : The Hindu