High Court orders state to set up welfare board to provide transgender people an ‘identity’
GUWAHATI : One of the primary functions of the Transgender Welfare Justice Board, once formed, will be to backtrack to the families of the transgender people and retrieve their documents so that they can enrol themselves in the National Register of Citizens which is currently being updated for the second draft.
Producing legacy data has been a challenge for the transgender people as most them have been shunned from their homes of birth by their family members.
“Producing legacy data is difficult for many of us (transgender people of Assam) because, in most of the cases, when a family finds out that the child is a third gender, they either shun us or they send us to the hijra guru (families of transgenders). Most of us don’t have enough documents with us.
Those who have, due to the fear of insult and embarrassment, have not kept any contact with their real family members and so, approaching them for legacy data is out of question,” Swati Bidhan Baruah,founder of the Assam Transgender Association said.
She added, “The board, when formed, will register the transgender people living in the state. It will try to track back to their family members and retrieve the necessary documents such as Aadhaar Card, PAN card etc.”
“The registered transgenders will also be able to avail the facilities,” Baruah said.
While the move will help provide identity to the indigenous transgender, it will also help to identify the floating population of the transgender people.
According to a survey conducted by the association, Assam’s transgender population has swelled to around 20,000 from 11,000 in 2011 as revealed by the census report.
“Many of the new entrants are either too scared to come out fearing embarrassment or have come from other parts of the city. So, a screening by the government is required to differentiate the original inhabitants from the shifting crowd,” said Baruah.
Baruah said that the shifting population of the transgenders from other parts of the country, who come here for livelihood, pose a threat to the indigenous transgender population and hence, requires a proper census.