CGovernment plans survey of sexual minorities

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Monday said the government would conduct a survey to identify the accurate number of transgenders / sexual minorities in the State.

Gowda, probably the first chief minister in the country to participate in a sexual minorities’ convention, said: “The regular census generally compromises on such minorities. So, we want a thorough survey done to identify such people so that their issues can be dealt in a systematic manner.”

A meeting with the officials concerned will be conveyed in the coming week, he said and added that the State would come out with an action plan to deal with their problems.

Incidentally, his predecessor B S Yeddyurappa in 2010, had promised the community that the government would look into their problems but no concrete action was taken.

The community members, who had come from various districts of the State attended the convention. Some of their common problems include a biased job market and unending social stigma.

Akkai Padmashali, a member of Sangama and who is fighting for community’s justice and equality, said: “...although Karnataka passed a historic order regarding the welfare of the sexual minorities, all that remains on paper due to government’s inaction.”

The government, through its order had promised to provide social entitlements - jobs, education and other benefits for the overall development of the community.

The members urged the chief minister to implement the previous order and also take steps to create equality in society so that transgenders don’t face discrimination.

Kiran, a resident of Chikkaballapur, said: “The injustice against us is present everywhere...right from a barber shop to the public toilet. There are problems when we commute in public transport systems and so it goes on.”

Kiran also accused the government officials of unfair treatment despite chief minister having written to them. “The chief minister in March gave me a letter to pay for my medical expenses as I am physically challenged, yet the authorities are troubling me,” Kiran added.

Responding to Kiran’s complaint, Gowda said that it was a shame to hear that a letter even issued by the chief minister was not honoured. He said it was time that the mental and physical paradigms of society changed.

“...the society is punishing gender minorities for no fault of theirs. The government is responsible for people who have no one to take care of them and we will see to it that they are provided with an environment that will have a right to live with self respect and pride. We will ensure that they get an opportunity to work,” he said.

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