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Move to give Transgender ration cards welcome July 27, 2006

Posted by qmediawatch in English, The Hindu, Transgender.
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Link to Hindu Report 07/27/06

Move to give transgendered ration cards welcome

J. Malarvizhi

  • Several transgendered have voter identification cards where they are identified as female
  • Their absence in campuses of higher education yet to be addressed

    CHENNAI: More than two-thirds of the transgendered community in Chennai already have family cards, according to Asha Bharathi, president of the Tamilnadu Aravaanigal Association. Only about a 1,000 of the 3,000 transgendered people in the city have not received the cards, she says.Tamil Nadu is probably the first to take up the cause of the transgendered in the State budget by proposing that they be given family cards and helped to form self-help groups, say representatives of some non-governmental organisations in the city.

    However, self-help groups are already there, Ms. Bharati points out. Several transgendered also have voter identification cards where they are identified as female.The NGOs hope the government will widen the concept of `family’ to include the transgendered who usually live in groups or small communities, which has been fulfilled in most cases in Chennai. L. Ramakrishnan, Country Director (Programs and Research), SAATHII-Chennai, said that in southern India, more than in the North, there were several instances of the transgendered living alone.

    They should not be neglected, he said. NGOs have welcomed the move to issue family cards. R. Lakshmi Bai, Project Director, Tamilnadu AIDS Initiative, termed it `an official recognition of the community,’ necessary for interventions in health and social welfare. Priya Babu, member, Sudar Foundation, an organisation for and by aravaanis, and a journalist, said education remained the most important requirement of the transgendered and their absence in campuses of higher education was yet to be addressed. “The transgendered are a socio-economically marginalised group. With few avenues of employment open to them, several are forced into sex work. Any move that addresses the issues of livelihood, food or nutrition is welcome,” said Dr. Ramakrishnan. “The proposal is definitely useful, even if I already hold the card as a family head,” said Asha. Aravaanis wanting cards may have TG to denote transgendered, she added. Passports issued by the Indian government currently have three gender categories — male, female and eunuch.

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