‘My Goal is to Lead a Life of Self-Esteem & Be Part of Mainstream Society’-Transgender Kaveri Mary D’souza, aged a resident of Pethri in Cherkadi village of Brahmavar taluk, and earning a living as an Auto-Rickshaw driver. She says “Probably I am the FIRST Transgender Auto-Rickshaw driver in Karnataka State”!
“Every single American or non-American – gay, bisexual, or transgender – deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and 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 President of the USA.
Mangaluru: “Humanity is not confined to males or females. We are giving social status to Transgenders also. Go and meet them. Have meetings and rallies of such people,”- PM Narendra Modi had told the 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 is and prohibit discrimination against them in education, employment, healthcare and other such matters was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 2 August 2016. Also, Andreja Pejic, an Australian model, and the first openly transgender model to be profiled in Vogue magazine in 2014 had said, ” “I would like them to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is a 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.”
When we come across transgenders, we become jittery. When they come near us, we feel uncomfortable and want to keep a safe distance. By our actions, we treat them as untouchables. We are reluctant to even speak to them. We never pause to think that they too are humans like us and have the same feelings, needs, etc. When we neglect or ill-treat them, they would naturally suffer emotionally. Their parents, who have given them birth, do not want to accept them. For what fault of theirs do they have to suffer? Why do their own families want to see them away? Why do some men take advantage of their situation and harass them sexually? We talk about rape and murder; we protest, we hold peace rallies, we demand justice.
And locally here in Mangaluru, Parivarthan Charitable Trust (R)-Mangaluru. was Founded by Ms Violet Pereira, the Founder and Life Trustee of the NGO, which was launched in 2016, to bring the transgenders community to the mainstream. And on 22 March 2017, a “Transgender’s Day” for the First Time in the History of Karnataka, probably in the Nation or Internationally was also launched at Roshni Nilaya, School of Social Work. Parivartan Charitable Trust has been functioning in Mangaluru since 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 society. The trust has also given medical assistance to transgenders. An Aadhar card registration camp was organised at the Parivartan office for Transgenders.
The Calcutta High Court had issued a direction that reservation and other benefits for transgender people in Joint CSIR-UGC NET Examinations at all levels be provided immediately. In Mangaluru, the transgender community is being recognised in various fields. And recently, Sanjana Chalavadi, the “Parivarthan Transqueen 2018”, who works as a beautician, was elected as the General Secretary of Youth Congress South Block. She is the first Trans-woman to get the General Secretary’s post in Dakshina Kannada. The vision of the Parivartan Trust is to empower every transgender and efforts are on to provide them with jobs so that they can lead a respectful life in society. At present, the only source of income for transgenders is begging and sex work due to which they have been discriminated against, assaulted and threatened sometimes by their senior members when they do not receive their share. let us work together to bring a difference in the lives of these “Human Beings”, who are just like Us
And here we have a transgender in Udupi who has not only found means of living by becoming an auto-rickshaw driver but has also shown the community that they can lead a fulfilling life on their terms. Kaveri Mary D’Souza, 37, a resident of Pethri in Cherkadi village of Brahmavar taluk, has been eking out a living by driving an auto rickshaw for the past four months. With the support of a donor and obtaining a loan from a bank, D’Souza managed to buy an autorickshaw. At the age of 15, D’Souza began to experience a deep sense of being a female and later got in touch with transgender community members in Mysuru and with the help of an NGO, she underwent sex reassignment surgery in Bengaluru. After serving as an outreach worker for HIV/Aids patients, she also worked in garment industries and other establishments in Bengaluru.
Later, after trying her luck in business in Brahmavar, she decided to take up the job of an autorickshaw driver in Pethri town. While she had availed a loan of Rs 1.8 lakh to buy an autorickshaw, the Humanity Trust Belman closed it by repaying the principal amount. Founder of Humanity Trust Belman, Roshan Belman speaking to Team Mangalorean said that the trust has already cleared the bank loan of D’Souza by paying nearly Rs 1.7 lakh. “We are planning to help D’Souza in realising her 10-year-old dream of building her own house,” Roshan said.
Kaveri Seen With Rohan Beman-the Founder of Humanity Trust Belman, who paid her Bank Loan of Rs 1.7 lakhs
Narrating her story, Kaveri D’souza said, “My birth name was Stany D’souza, born to Salvatore D’souza and Mrs Carmine D’souza, and we are four brothers and three sisters in the family. I have studied only up to 9th at Sharada High School in Thekkady but didn’t continue with my further studies due to certain issues. At the age of 15, I decided to change my sex from male to female, undergoing a sex reassignment surgery in Bengaluru. After serving as an outreach worker for HIV/Aids patients, I also worked in garment industries and other establishments in Bengaluru. I also worked in the office of a BJP politician in Bengaluru and also working part-time in shops in Bengaluru. After I managed to learn auto-rickshaw driving, I decided to come back to my hometown, and bought an auto-rickshaw on loan from a loan company”
” Ms Deepa Bhandary, the President of Inner Wheel Club, Udupi had also helped me with Rs 60,000, for which I am very grateful to her. My sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks also go to Rohan Belman, Founder of Humanity Trust Belman for settling my loan of Rs 1.7 lakh. As I don’t want to stay for long with my brothers and sisters, I am planning to build my own small house on our ancestral property, for which I am seeking financial help to make my dreams come true. I feel proud to say that I am probably the first transgender autorickshaw driver in the state. Though I learnt to drive long back, I was not able to obtain a licence in the absence of identity proof. I finally got my identity proof and license six months ago. Being a transgender, my goal is to lead a life of self-esteem and become part of mainstream society,” added Ms Kaveri D’souza.
On a final note, Transgender people 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. The problems faced by the transgender people 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; Transgender people have difficulty in exercising their basic civil rights;
Reports of harassment, violence, denial of services, and unfair treatment against transgender persons have come to light; and Sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is criminalized, and punishable by incarceration. Therefore we the women in society should have to understand these Transgenders, and try to accept them, and make them feel like they are also like us and enjoy the same freedom and benefits as regular women”.
Each person has a unique existence, which although temporal and fragile can hardly be captured in language, but rather in the singularity and uniqueness we possess. This is to say, there are no others. This said one can then boldly remind that there are those of us and those amongst us who exist in what can simply be called, the “between”.Genderqueer is a term used to identify persons who identify as neither male nor female and prefer to not be viewed in a binary manner. Many trans and gender-diverse persons are killed, violated, persecuted, isolated, discriminated against, and stigmatized for their mere existence in a world that still largely holds patriarchy in the highest esteem.
Let me end this column with a poem, published in Mangalorean.com, written by Ms Monisha ‘Misha’ G Carvalho, a native of Kundapur, pursuing Law studies at Lancaster University, United Kingdom.
Are they not one among us,
Who share equal rights to live!
Then why don’t we treat them like us?
Instead, leave them behind to grieve!
Now and then, they are forced to
Fight for their existence!
Are they not humans like us?
Then, why do we show so much resistance?
We always tend to judge them
On their choice of sexuality!
Why it’s so offensive if they choose to,
Face and accept their life’s reality?
Our eyes pop up every time
We see them crossing a street!
As if an alien has landed up in front,
And is all set to pounce on us, to eat!
We make them part of our celebrations,
When we need their blessings!
Then why do we make them go through humiliation,
And invite upon us, their cursing?
Dear society, be delighted to know,
They are a blessing in disguise!
There is nothing wrong to be a transgender
Their grace lies in the beholders’ eyes!
IF ANY OF OUR READERS WOULD LIKE TO HELP KAVERI D’SOUZA FINANCIALLY TOWARDS THE CONSTRUCTION OF HER HOUSE CAN DO SO TO HER BANK ACCOUNT ;
BANK NAME; UNION BANK
ACCOUNT NAME : KAVERI
ACCOUNT NO: 520101253880927
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