Friday, 16 July 2021 | Purnima Bisht | Dehradun
‘Govt supportive of LGBT, has started issuing I-cards’
Though it is always difficult for an individual to come out as a transgender person, this process is harder for transgender men due to various factors including patriarchy in society. Many are still not aware of the difference between a transgender man and a transgender woman which must be changed in order to make society more acceptable towards the transgender community. This was stated by trans woman from Dehradun, Natasha Negi who works for the welfare of the LGBT community in Uttarakhand. She said that it is disappointing how many associate transgenders with Kinnars (eunuchs) due to a lack of education and awareness. According to her, many do not even know the difference between a transgender man and a transgender woman. “Transgender man is a person who born as a female and a transgender woman is a person who was born as a male but both do not identify with the assigned genders. I think such topics should be taught in schools so that children can know about these things since their childhood rather than being confused or misinformed later,” said Negi. She also revealed that it is harder for transgender men to come out because they are identified as a female since their birth and due to the societal pressure on women in society, they do not speak openly about their gender identity. “Women are suppressed more in the patriarchal society and due to family pressure, many transgender men hide it. This is the reason one will find a handful of trans men in the society,” stated Negi.
Talking about acceptance of transgenders in the State, Negi said that the people of Uttarakhand are more supportive of the transgender community than many other states in the country as per her experience. She said that earlier, many families used to abandon their children if they come out as a transgender person but now families are accepting them. However, she added, it is not that simple for everybody. “When people, especially teenagers, come out as transgenders but do not get the support from the family, they go through depression and sometimes fall into the company of wrong people. Many even start using drugs that destroy their life. This is why family support is very crucial when a family member comes out as transgender,” said Negi.
She also asserted that Uttarakhand government has been quite supportive of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. Negi, who is secretary of the organisation Prayojan Kalyan Samiti that works for the LGBT community stated that the government recently started issuing identity cards to transgender people which has made their life quite easy in various ways. She explained, “The transgender people have to explain themselves at places like banks, ticket counters etc, especially those who have gone through gender transitioning process as most of their identities and documents have name and photograph before the transition. Now due to the identity cards issued by the social welfare department, nobody has to explain themselves. Besides this, it will also help in other fields that are meant to benefit the transgender community. It is certainly an empowering move for the community by the government here.”
Informing about the gender transitioning process, Negi explained that this process is mainly done by transgenders to connect with the internal sense of being a man or a woman rather than the gender with which they were born. Many transgenders use medical treatments and procedures like breast implants or hormones therapy in the gender transition process. She said, “Such treatments are available in government hospitals of various states of the country. I hope the government here also starts to provide this facility to facilitate the transitioning process which is mostly expensive and unaffordable for everyone.” Negi disclosed that her organisation is also planning to release a helpline number so that those who feel lost or confused about their gender identity can contact the organisation for counselling and suggestions. She also informed that most of the transgenders are not educated here so they have also approached the government to provide vocational training to make them financially independent. “The response of government officials was positive and the training session will probably start in the next few months,” disclosed Negi.