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Enforcing the Right of Transgenders to Live and Die with Dignity

District Collector Dr. Manik Gursal has taken many noble steps to stop discrimination against transgenders in Palghar, Maharashtra.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Even after being fed a regular dose of talks on LGBT rights on media platforms and public forums, and the Supreme Court’s judgment in 2014 recognizing transgender persons as the third gender, the fact remains that India still has a long way to go before the transgender community gets accepted into the mainstream. Transgenders face discrimination all the time in society, to the extent of getting thrown out of their homes by their own families.

To put an end to this abuse of rights, as new regulations are being introduced countrywide, the Palghar district of Maharashtra has also adopted some proactive steps to bring about a change in people’s perception towards the transgender community.

Indian Masterminds spoke to District Collector of Palghar, Dr. Manik Gursal, who has been actively working for securing the rights of the transgender community and found out from him about the various initiatives being taken in this district to stop discrimination towards the third gender.

PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ACT 2019

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 bans discrimination against transgender people in educational establishment and services, employment, healthcare services, access to the ‘use of any goods, accommodation, service, facility, benefit, privilege or opportunity dedicated to the use of the general public or customarily available to the public’, the right to movement, the right to ‘reside, purchase, rent or otherwise occupy any property’, the opportunity to stand for or hold public or private office, and in government or private establishments.

However, this Act notwithstanding, the third gender still experience much discrimination and abuse of their rights as most people are still not ready to accept them as a part of society. Hence, the community faces isolation and deprivation, to the extent that they cannot even cremate their own in the public crematoriums.

DISCRIMINATION DURING CREMATION

Resolving to end this discrimination, Dr. Manik Gursal set about introducing steps that aim not only to help the transgenders but also integrate them slowly into the mainstream. He told Indian Masterminds, “The transgenders in Palghar were deprived of cremation rights. In cases of death of a transgender, local people used to deny them the right of cremation because the community was viewed as social outcast.”

The issue was serious and was raised by the community multiple times. Dr. Manik acknowledged the discrimination faced by them and wrote to the local authorities such as the sarpanch, panchayat members, etc., that if any transgender is denied the right, an offence will be registered against them.

Dr. Manik said, “We identified a land in Dahanu taluka where transgenders can practice their crematorium rights. I have also delegated the power to the Sub Divisional Magistrate and sub divisional officers so that decision making can be done in less time.”

ID CARDS AND FINANCIAL BENEFITS

As per the new rule of 2019, transgenders need not worry about taking a medical examination before applying for any ID cards like Aadhar, PAN, etc. D. Manik said, “Now the transgenders have to file an affidavit and can also use the central portal to apply online. We give them identity certificates first, and that is followed by ration card, Aadhar card, through which they can open a back account.”

ID cards issued to transgenders in Palghar

Apart from this, a long pending demand was also fulfilled in the district recently: eligible transgenders are being provided monthly financial assistance of Rs. 1,000 from the beginning of 2022. Up till now, 37 transgenders have been provided this assistance. These steps have come as a big relief for the community, and many have openly appreciated the efforts of the Collector.


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