MP Nalin Inaugurates Parivarthan- a Ray of Hope to ‘Change’ lives of Transgenders
Parivarthan Charitable Trust (R)- a Ray of Hope to ‘Change” the lives and make a difference in Transgenders was launched today, 30 August 2016 at Zilla Panchayat Netravathi Hall-Urwa by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and other dignitaries.
Mangaluru: Transgenders are individuals whose gender identities do not pertain to their biological sex, and thus they differ from the stereotype of how men and women normally are. ‘Transgender’ does not include sexual orientation or physical sex characteristics, but is in fact a less clinical term which pertains to gender identity and gender expression. Thus transgenders encompass those people whose identity and behaviour do not adhere to the stereotypical gender norms. Since the beginning of time and the existence of mankind, transgenders have been very much a part of the society. It is just that they have been given a name and a status in the society in recent times, and now there is even medical technology available especially for them.
The problems faced by the transgenders here include: they are shunned by family and society alike; They have restricted access to education, health services and public spaces; Till recently, they were excluded from effectively participating in social and cultural life; Politics and decision-making processes have been out of their reach; Transgenders have difficulty in exercising their basic civil rights; Reports of harassment, violence, denial of services, and unfair treatment against transgenders have come to light; and Sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is criminalized, and is punishable by incarceration.
In a landmark judgment in 2014, even though the Supreme Court in its judgment, passed a ruling that “In view of the constitutional guarantee, the transgender community is entitled to basic rights i.e. Right to Personal Liberty, dignity, Freedom of expression, Right to Education and Empowerment, Right against violence, Discrimination and exploitation and Right to work. Moreover, every person must have the right to decide his/her gender expression and identity, including transsexuals, transgenders, hijras and should have right to freely express their gender identity and be considered as a third sex.” Thus, today the transgenders in India are considered to be the Third Gender. But not many Indian states, including Karnataka have not fully implemented this SC ruling, instead have been ignoring the Transgender community.
Observing all the inconveniences, hassles, problems and discrimination faced by the Transgenders in the society, Violet Pereira of Mangaluru acting as a Good Samaritan, along with yet another social worker Nanda Pais-Mangaluru joined together and thought of doing something good to the Transgenders. For the last so many years, Violet Pereira has been involved in social service and helping the poor and the needy in the society. She has been a good Samaritan to those less-fortunate or homeless people stranded on the streets needing help and care. Having concern for the Transgenders the way they live in the community, Violet had even written an article on Transgenders and felt the need to transform their lives by bringing them to the mainstream. She discussed her desire of working for the transgenders with Nanda Pais, and decided to start a Charitable Trust. A meeting was scheduled with the Transgenders to discuss their problems, where they openly expressed their desire to “Change “(Parivarthan). Thus the idea of forming a Charitable Trust named “Parivarthan” was conceived, where the Trust will do everything to transform the lives of Transgenders.
So many decisions were made during many meetings held between Violet Pereira, Nanda Pais and bunch of Transgenders, as to how the Trust could be formed, plans being chalked out, and finally a date was set for the launching of the Trust. 30 August 2016 was a unique day in the history of Mangaluru that a ‘unique Trust’ benefiting a ‘unique community of Transgenders’, where the birth of ‘Parivarthan Charitable Trust (R) took place, aiming to bring “changes” in the lives of Transgenders. MP Nalin Kumar Kateel inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp, along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- DK Police Commissioner Chandra Sekhar IPS; Sreevidya- CEO Zilla Panchayat; Kasturi Panja- VP-ZP; Shantharaju-DCP Law and Order; Dr Sanjeev Patil- DCP Crime and Traffic; Khader Shah-Information Officer; Violet Pereira-Managing Trustee and Nanda Pais-Trustee, both of Parivarthan;
Parivarthan Trustee Advocate Asha Nayak welcomed the gathering, while the Managing Trustee of Parivarthan Charitable Trust Violet Pereira briefed about the Trust – its vision, mission and aims.
Addressing the gathering after the inauguration of the Trust, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said, “This is a great initiative taken by two women namely Violet Pereira and Nanda Pais to fight for the rights of the Transgenders, and try to bring a change in their lives through various training and projects. This Trust has now given a chance to the Transgenders to raise their voice in the society, face like other human beings and mingle with rest of the community without any fear or shame. This kind of idea of starting a Trust in Mangaluru for Transgenders, should inspire others to open such Trusts in their respective towns and states. I urge the law enforcement authorities to fully support and give protection to these Transgenders in their time of needs, and consider them just like the rest of us. I too will extend my fullest support whenever they need me, that’s my promise”.
Sreevidya after inaugurating the Trust, in her address to the audience said, “The efforts put in by two hardworking and dedicated women namely Violet Pereira and Nanda Pais have been fruitful, and this Trust launched today will go a long way catering to the needs and solving the problems of the transgenders. This Trust will surely bring the Transgenders to the mainstream, where they too can be part of the society. Like how the Transgenders have been given all the rights in many Western countries, in a similar way India should also follow in the footsteps of these Western countries. As of today, let us not discriminate the Transgenders, instead respect and treat them just like rest of the human beings”.
After launching the Parivarthan logo, Police Commissioner Chandra Shekhar in his speech said, “Hats off to Violet Pereira and Nanda Pais for forming a Trust exclusively for the Transgenders, where they could share their views, their problems, and eventually solve them through the Trust. When British ruled India, they considered themselves as higher class of “White People”, and treated Indians as lower class naming them “Brown People”. Gone are those days, presently we should not discriminate anyone, because we are all children of God created equally. Just because there are a few bad people in an organization, you should not consider the entire organization as bad. Similarly there may be a few bad Transgenders, that doesn’t mean that the entire Transgender community is bad. I will direct the officials of the police department to serve the Transgenders when they need help, and not be stereotype. I will also support this Trust, whenever they need my assistance”.
Kasturi Panja, the VP of Zilla Panchayat inaugurated the Trust committee, and released the Trust buttons. In her speech, Panja also complimented the Trustees of Parivarthan for a job well done, and wished them best of luck, and also support from her side anytime. Dr Sanjeev Patil and Shantharaju also spoke and extended their whole-hearted and full support from the police department towards the Trust. The members of the Trust entertained the audience with few songs, setting a musical mood, and Sanjana, the Trust secretary delivered the vote of thanks. Member of the trust Ramona Misquith compered the programme.
Prior to the conclusion of the programme Rani, Honorary President of the Trust, and Sandhya, the president of the Trust shared some of their feelings being a Transgender and how they have been treated by the people in the community, “In a basket you’ll always find a bad apple. Similarly among the Transgenders there are a few who have been spoiling the name, by involving in bad activities. We belong to the good ones, and please don’t consider us to be one of the bad ones. We have seen males coming from Bengaluru and Mysuru, and here they dress like women and go begging for money and also harass citizens. This needs to be stopped, and we the members of the Trust will see that such kind of illegal activities will end soon. We need the support of the police too in this regard. We too want to live a better life with better facilities. Even though we have applied for Ration card, Adhar Card, ID card, Pan card to open Bank account – but we have been denied all those. We are here to bring a change and want others to know that we too want to live a life just like other human beings. Give us a chance and we will show that we too are just like you and want to have all the benefits rest of the citizens enjoy”.
In Conclusion, “Here is Parivarthan, a Trust which will especially work for the welfare of the transgenders. A Trust aimed to bring all transgenders to the mainstream by empowering them. As witnessed, most of the transgenders lead their life begging or being involved in sex work, but the Trust will help them lead a dignified life, the Trust will conduct workshops and provide skill development training for them. This Trust was launched because of the need of the hour – the only role model a young or middle-aged trans-person sees in the community now is either a person begging on the streets or engaged in sex work. It was very important to change that demotivating perception and bring positive role models of the community. The Trust will try to educate on various gender identities under the Transgender umbrella – it will be an important source as the first line of action to fight discrimination and increase acceptance within families for Transgenders.
Finally, each being in this Universe is indeed unique, and an integral part of Nature. It would thus be wrong to judge and discriminate people who may be different from the stereotype, which again is man-made. It is time that India realized that every individual in this country has equal rights and privileges, and follow the policy of “live and let live.” Let’s treat the Transgenders equally, after all we are all God’s children created equally. I end this column with quote from Ban Ki-Moon:
“To those who are bisexual,or transgender-let me say- you are not alone. You’re struggle, for the end to violence and discrimination, is a shared struggle. Today, I stand with you. And I call upon all countries and people, to stand with you too. A historic shift is underway. We must tackle the violence, and end discrimination. We must educate the public. I call on the people of the world and people of conscience to make this happen. The time has come.”