In the paradise, life comes cheap for transgenders

Firdous Hassan

Srinagar: Transgender community in Kashmir has been suffering in silence.  

Despite several measures, the community has been left to fend for themselves as they are unable to avail benefits of government schemes.

Cumbersome official process, ostracization, stigma and have left majority of the transgenders without Identity Cards and certificates. As a result, they are unable to access government schemes

As per the figures available with The Kashmir Monitor, only 226 transgenders from Jammu and Kashmir have applied for ID cards and certificates.

This makes up only just five percent of the total transgender population, which as per the 2011 census has been recorded at 4137.

Out of these 226 transgenders, 135 have been issued certificates by the government so far while 59 applications have been rejected.

Dr. Aijaz Ahmad Bund, the author of the first ethnographic study of the Valley’s transgender people explained that there were various reasons due to which the members of transgender community were unable to get ID cards.

From being disowned by the family to stigma, he said the transgenders are unable to get their ID cards and certificates.

“We have the majority of the transgenders who have been disowned by their families. Their existence is considered a disgrace to the family’s honor. So they are not able to get the documents to make their ID cards and certificates,” he said.

 Bund added that many fear expressing their identity as transgender because of the stigma.

“It is not just a matter of an ID card or a simple change in the document, it is about their existence. There is a stigma attached to transgenders and many of them fear to express their identity,” he said.

Another reason, he said, is the hectic paperwork to change their identity as transgender.

“Securing an Identity Card is not easy for them. It requires a lot of them as they have to get other documents for getting their ID as a transgender, ” he said.

Lack of awareness is becoming another impediment for the transgenders to get ID cards and certificates issued by various departments.

 “We don’t know how to get an ID and other cards. Majority of the transgenders in Kashmir are even without golden cards. There are not any sustained awareness programs regarding transgenders in Kashmir about availing benefits of various social schemes,” a member of the transgender community told The Kashmir Monitor. 

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Self-help believer, a gadget lover and nature's admirer. Presently Senior reporter at The Kashmir Monitor with an experience of nine years in reporting business, crime, defense, politics and environment.Have also contributed to reputed media organizations including First Post, India Spend, Forbes India
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