Congress to open transgender cell in Kerala, 50 to be given membership
Around 50 transgenders will be given primary membership of the Congress in Kerala as the party inaugurates a special cell for the marginalised community on Wednesday.
The party leaders said the initiative is the first of its kind in any political outfit and has the blessings of the high command.
The memberships to those 50 people will be handed out by state Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran in a function at party state headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, PCC vice-president KP Anil Kumar said.
The initiative came from the transgender community, said the Congress leader, adding that the party chose to honour their long-pending demand.
“There are historic judgments but most remain only on papers. They are still marginalised and no party is around to air their problems and grievances. We hope the upcoming association will help alleviate their woes,” he said, adding former state chief minister Oommen Chandy and the present opposition leader in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala will also attend the function.
“Most of our community members are often identified with Communist parties. At times people who believe in the Congress ideology are also forced to move in that camp. We have been telling Congress leaders about this for quite some time. We are quite happy finally the party has given us a chance,” said P Ranjini, a community member. She said after forming the association, they will get a strong foothold to help address some of the pressing problems of the community.
Kerala was the first state to formulate a transgender policy in 2015 aimed at ending discrimination against the community members and bring them into the mainstream. In 2017, it also set up a transgender justice board to deal with their complaints and a separate column called “third sex” was introduced in birth and death registration forms in the state.
The state, touted as one of the most literate ones in country, also made mandatory for all government buildings to have separate washrooms for those who identify themselves as the third sex.
According to the transgender board, there are at least 35,000 third sex and trans-sexual persons in the state. Three years back the Kochi Metro had given jobs to 23 transgenders, though some of them had to leave, others are still in service. Despite some initial moves, activists working in the area say more is required to bring them into the mainstream. But they do agree that the situation in Kerala is far better compared to other states.