“The government is committed to protect the rights of all including those in the transgender community. We will introduce a pension scheme for members of the community who cross sixty years of age,” state finance minister Thomas Issac said while presenting the budget. He did not specify the pension amount.
Last year Kerala had become the first state in the country to unveil a Transgender Policy, with the view towards protecting the rights of transgenders and ending the stigma towards the community.
The policy covers all the categories of transgenders, including male to female transgenders and intersex people. It also talks about the rights of transgenders to identify themselves as man, woman or transgender as stated in the Supreme Court judgement. The idea behind the policy is to ensure that transgenders have equal access to social and economic opportunities, resources and services, and right ¬to live life without violence. The policy also recommends that a Transgender Justice Board should be set up, with state Minister for Social Justice as its chairperson.
But transgenders still face discrimination and do not receive benefits like medical insurance and pension. Kerala has become the second state to have a welfare scheme for transgenders after Odisha.
Additionally, the Kochi Metro Rail Managing Director Alias George had earlier announced that members of the transgender community in the city will be given employment in Metro Rail Corporation (KMMRL).
“Transgenders face lot of difficulties. They are forced into undesirable occupations. So as an experiment we have developed an idea to rehabilitate them. Under Kudumbasree itself, we have planned to employ transgenders in Kochi metro. We know that our experiment will be a success… Kochi metro will be a venue for many experiments. So first we decided to make use of Kudumbasree, women self-help groups in many operation sections. Unlike other metros, Kochi metro will have more women employees, it will be a women run metro,” Alias George said in a recent KMMRL Facebook post. the selected candidates for employment will be given special training by police.
According to police, there are 176 registered transgenders in the state, but activists estimate the actual number to be around 30,000.