'Constitution vouches for every right but for sexual minorities'

'Constitution vouches for every right but for sexual minorities'

Transgender activist opens intl meet on medical and social sciences in city

With a day left for Constitution Day, to be observed by the Centre for the first time on November 26, Akkai Padmashali, a transgender activist from Ondede, an NGO from Bengaluru, raised the pitch for the rights of sexual minorities.

Addressing a gathering, on Tuesday, after inaugurating the four-day First Mysuru International Conference on Medical and Social Sciences, organised by the Department of Community Medicine, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC and RI), Akkai — herself a man to woman transgender — asserted that the Constitution of India guarantees every right, but for sexual minorities.

Referring to religious scriptures like Bhagvad Gita, Qur’an and Bible, Akkai said, “Even they speak of justice, not injustice”.

Elaborating on the theme of the conference ‘Gender Equity: Social Issues and Health Challenges in Today’s’ Context,’ Akkai said, “It’s disappointing to speak about gender as even in the 21st century people are discriminated in the name of sex and struggling on various issues like sex, gender and sexuality.”

Societal stigma
Akkai said, “It’s the people who decide what should a male wear and how should a female be — either in sartorial appearance or following of set traditions with pierced nose and ears. Similarly, gender too is imposed on others, rather than leaving it to the person to decide, what he or she should be.”

On transgenders, Akkai said, the extent of prejudice within and outside the family is unacceptable. “It could be attributed to lack of awareness and also education. We chose what we wanted to be, but not Naxalite, or any other anti-social element. Yet we are not accepted in the society.”

Sun rises...
Highlighting the travails faced by the transgenders, who mostly do sex work to eke out a living, Akkai said, “For us sun rises in the night and sets before the dawn. It is during night hours clients come and the job fetches not less than a few hundreds in a day.

Award for movement
Akkai, who was felicitated with Karnataka Rajyotsava award recently, in a function,  held in Bengaluru, dedicated the award to the civilian
and societal movements.

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