Making History! First of Its Kind ‘Transgender’s Day’ Launched in Mangaluru
“Every single American or non-American – gay, bisexual, or transgender – they deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition. I think what you’re seeing is a profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays and lesbians and transgender persons are our brothers, our sisters, our children, our cousins, our friends, our co-workers, and that they’ve got to be treated like every other American. And I think that principle will win out.”- Barack Obama-Former US President
“To those who are bisexual, or transgender-let me say- you are not alone. Your 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, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships and end discrimination. We must educate the public. I call on this council and people of conscience to make this happen. The time has come.” ― Ban Ki-Moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
“Humanity is not confined to male or female. We are giving a social status to Transgenders also. Go and meet them. Have meetings and rallies of such people,”- PM Narendra Modi tells MPs, as he identified the government bill related to transgender persons as a great step towards social reforms. A bill seeking to define who a transgender and prohibit discrimination against them in education, employment, healthcare and other such matters was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2016
“I would like them to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.” — Andreja Pejic, an Australian model, and the first openly transgender model to be profiled in Vogue magazine in 2014.
Mangaluru: “In our country, we celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Children’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc., but we have never thought about Transgenders who are also humans and have the same feelings like us. They too need to be recognized and encouraged for their talents by society. Most of the transgenders do not get the opportunity to come out and mix with other people in the society due to certain barriers and the mindset of the people. So why not encourage them by celebrating ‘Transgender’s Day’ and make a difference”- well said by Violet Pereira, the Founder and Life Trustee of Parivarthan Charitable Trust (R)-Mangaluru. Yes, I fully agree with Violet for her initiative to launch a “Transgender’s Day” for the First Time in the History of Karnataka, probably in the Nation or Internationally.
You never know, the origin of “Transgender’s Day” which was launched today in Mangaluru, could be a official “Transgender’s Day” nationwide or internationally, once the news spreads through media and other means of publicity- that is how most of the commemorative “Days” have been formed. If you google you’ll find “Transgenders Day of Remembrance”, but you’ll not find “Transgender’s Day’- but not anymore- as of today, “Transgender’s Day” will pop up when you do the Google search. Compliments to Violet Pereira for her thoughtful thinking of the Transgenders, whom she has been fighting for their rights and justice since years- and now she has added another feather in her cap, by introducing “Transgender’s Day”.
While the bevy of Transgenders, whole lot of students of School of Social Work-Roshini Nilaya and loyal Mangalorean.com readers have extended their support and appreciate the great work and dedication of Violet Pereira in this respect, but unfortunately an electronic media deliberately and openly degraded and criticized about Violet in one of their reports a few weeks ago, stating that she (Violet) had started the Parivarthan Charitable Trust to mint money – which is nonsense and far from truth. Degrading a person without knowing the facts is not professional journalism. If at all Violet’s intention was to make money through this Trust (like many others do as the Founders), then why is she not accepting a single rupee from the government, well-wishers, donors etc- as far as I know she has spent from her pocket towards running of the Trust, and also for other Trust activities, including today’s celebration.
Violet’s intention is not to become a crorepati, as portrayed by one of the media- all the assets she owns are due to her hard, sincere and dedicated work- and not through corruption, solicitation, or Illegal Dealings- just through clean, sincere and God-fearing work! So all you hate mongers who are trying to spit venom through your media or post derogatory comments on Violet, I think it will be very nice of you to think twice before you hit that send button on your mobile phones or computers/laptops. And remember the famous quote- “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, which means that you should not criticize other people for (bad) qualities in their character that you have yourself. Period?
Now coming to the main topic- The Parivarthan Charitable Trust (Bringing a Ray of Hope to Change lives of Transgenders) in association with School of Social Work and BSW Sahayog Forum (Spirit of Togetherness) organized “Transgender’s Day”, (To create a Better world for Them) at the Maria Paiva Cruceiro Hall- Roshni Nilaya premises today, March 22, 2017 amidst a large crowd predominately of lecturers, students, transgenders and well-wishers. The programme began with a prayer song rendered by the students of Roshini Nilaya, followed by welcome address by Azmeera Shahzeen – President of Roshini Nilaya Student Council.
In her keynote address, Founder and Life Trustee of Parivarthan Charitable Trust Violet Pereira said, “The Trust was started on August 30, 2016, for the welfare of the Transgenders. In our country, we celebrate Father’s day, Mother’s day, Children’s day, Valentine’s day, etc., but we have never thought about transgenders who are also humans and have the same feelings like us. They too need to be recognized and encouraged for their talents by society. Most of the transgenders do not get the opportunity to come out and mix with other people in the society due to certain barriers and the mindset of the people. To bring awareness to the students who are into social service, the Parivarthan Charitable Trust assists the BSW and MSW students to do projects on the life of transgenders which will help in bringing a change in the minds of the students as well as the society. Together with the students, we decided to celebrate the ‘Transgender’s Day’, and we’ll celebrate every year and recognize them for their achievements”.
She further said, “Working for the welfare of the transgenders is like getting jewels from the fire pit. It is very difficult to bring unity and understanding among the transgenders since the seniors (Gurus) who settle in a city first, bring others (Chelas) to the place and demand money from them every month. To pay money to the seniors they need to beg and involve in prostitution. The seniors in Mangaluru demand Rs 6000 per month from their chelas. If they refuse to pay they are threatened and assaulted by the group or through paid goondas. Last Sunday a similar incident occurred in Mangaluru where two of the transgenders who are registered members of our Trust were threatened and beaten up for not paying the requested money- they have also been stopped from having contact with the Trust or its other members. Since transgenders have no one to help them or seriously listen to their grievances they are forced to live like bonded labourers”.
“An electronic media has also alleged that the Trust founded by me is minting money through the Trust. Till date, the Trust has not received a single paise from the government or has accepted money from anyone. Whatever the money spent for the programmes, or any work related to the transgenders have been spent by me. When good work is done there are only a few to pat our back, but to find fault and defame a person there are many whose work is just that. No matter what criticisms or hate comments come my way, I will not stop my activities to help the transgenders to bring them to the mainstream in the society since they too are human beings and it is my duty to support them. I urge the students and the faculty to join the Trust to strengthen the transgenders and bring them to the mainstream. I know there are many students who are ready to join our Trust- let us work together to bring a difference in the lives of these “Human Beings”, who are just like Us” added Violet.
The “Transgender’s Day” was launched by untying a “Transgender” (acted by a Roshini Nilaya student) and also by lighting the traditional lamp by the chief guest- Kavitha Sanil- MCC Mayor along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- Violet Pereira; Dr Jenis Mary- Vice Principal and Dr Laxminarayan Bhat- Registrar of Roshini Nilaya respectively; Srinidhi- Treasurer of Parivarthan Charitable Trust; and Anusuya Shenoy – Assistant Professor and Co-ordinator Sahayog Forum.
Addressing the audience, Mayor Kavitha Sanil said, “First and foremost I would like to compliment Violet Pereira for her thoughtful initiative in creating a ‘Transgender’s day, and also for her care towards the Transgenders in trying to bring them up in the society that we all live as human beings. People are more conscious of transgender people now than ever before, thanks to the fact that individual things have already happened to make that so. Things seem to need to build up a certain amount of momentum and backing before the general public and the media and Trust like this one, acknowledge them.”
“Seems like things have been good enough lately that a lot of previously closeted transgender people have come out and/or begun transitioning, and people have realized that they know more trans folks than they thought. These things put together have meant that people are aware of trans people as real people, rather than the negative stereotypes that were so prevalent and so toxic years ago. Whatever help that the Trust and the Transgenders need from MCC, I will see that they are obliged. Let us all treat Transgenders equally, and make them feel that they too belong in the society that we all live.” added Mayor.
Transgender Kajol was felicitated during the occasion for her accomplishment in life, although being neglected in the society. To know more about Kajol- she was born and brought up in Mandya, but later moved to Mumbai, and resided there for a while with her Guru. She completed her PUC with First Class results, and later she came down to Mangaluru with her friend and liked this coastal town so much that she joined an NGO managed by Alliance Company, where she worked as a Project Manager for Ashraya and was later promoted to Project Director. The turning point in her life was the screening of “Nanu Awanalla Awalu” – a film directed by BS Ungadevaru. A like-minded WhatsApp group was created to screen the film in Udupi, and while she was attending training for anchoring on TV at Chennai, she was felicitated. At present, Kajol is pursuing Under Graduate in Bachelor of Arts, and her dream is to become an IAS Officer.
After being felicitated, Kajol expressed her words of wisdom saying, “My sincere thanks to Violet who has been like our Mother, helping us to come up in our lives. The Trust which she started has been very helpful to all of us (Transgenders) and we will try our best to bring a change in our lifestyle. My only dream is to become an IAS Officer, and with all the support and encouragement that I may get from the Trust and citizens, I feel that success will be on my way. I consider this day (Transgender’s day) as a Beautiful day, and I will cherish it forever.”
Dr Jenis Mary also spoke and requested the students to respect Transgenders also as human beings and accept them in the society without any discrimination. Transgenders Srinidhi, Chandrakala and Sanjana also expressed their gratitude to the Trust for making them known in the society as human beings and also for getting them the facilities like others enjoy. The vote of thanks was delivered by Ramya – President of Sahayog Forum, and the programme was compered by Neha – Final Year BSW student at Roshni Nilaya.
Like PM Modi had said “Humanity is not confined to male or female. We are giving a social status to them. Go and meet them. Have meetings and rallies of such people,” Modi had directed MPs, as he identified the government bill related to transgender persons as a great step towards social reforms. A bill seeking to define who a transgender and prohibit discrimination against them in education, employment, healthcare and other such matters was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 2, 2016. It seeks to confer rights upon the transgender person to be recognised as such, and a right to self-perceived gender identity, issue of certificate of identity; provide for a grievance redressal mechanism in each establishment and punishment for contraventions of the provisions of the Bill. It also envisages setting up a National Council for Transgender persons. The bill was listed in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing, but could not be taken up.
But in the meantime locally here, Parivarthan Charitable Trust has been functioning in Mangaluru from 2016 to make a difference in the lives of transgenders. The Trust has been working relentlessly for the welfare of transgenders with a mission of bringing them to the mainstream of the society. The trust has also given medical assistance to transgenders. An Aadhar card registration camp was organised at the Parivarthan office for Transgenders, where more than 40 of them applied. At present, 5 transgenders are undergoing skill development training at KPT and from April 1st, 7 transgenders will join the beautician course. On March 17 and 18, 10 transgenders participated in a self-employment training at Bantwal. The vision of the trust is to empower every transgender and efforts are on to provide them with jobs so that they can lead a respectful life in the society. At present, the only source of income for transgenders is begging and sex work due to which they have been discriminated, assaulted and threatened sometimes by their own senior members when they do not receive their share.
In conclusion, we need to compliment and commend Violet Pereira and the Trust she founded, which has always been there to address the problems of the Transgenders since its inception and has been trying to bring every Transgender in and around Mangaluru to the mainstream. There are so many unsung, unwept and unhonoured in the journey called life. Time and again these Transgenders continue to do great work without even asking for anything. It behooves us to elevate such human beings to such recognition, encouragement, goodwill or help is sometimes the only thing they (transgenders) need, like a pat on the back, like we felicitated Kajol today. And remember, Transgenders are also people. They’re human beings, and have a human life!