The condition of the transgenders was pathetic 30 years back and it remains the same till date when it comes to their employment and inclusivity in the society.
Bangalore is a metropolitan city where people from all the backgrounds and regions stay. Among this diversity of people, there remains a large number of transgenders.
Transgender people are a part of sexual minority community that could be found everywhere in the world.
The transgender community in India still struggle to live a life of dignity and a life where they are not looked down upon by society. Even after the Decriminalization of Article 377, accepting transgender people in the society is still on the papers. Even today, the people from this sexual minority community have to get into odd jobs to survive in this country where the prices of basic commodities required for day-to-day living are sky rocketing.
There are many transgender women who rely upon sex work and begging to earn their living. For such women, State Government and Central Government have introduced some welfare schemes. The aim of these schemes is to empower the transgender community to give up these jobs, start their own business and become self-employed. So that they can live a life where they can get respect from people. But these schemes are on the papers only and there has been no proper implementation of these schemes. Most transgenders are not even aware of these schemes. Even though they are educated enough, they do not get jobs due to their gender orientation.
Priya is a transwoman who has been accepted by her family the way she is. But she did face a lot of problems outside home. She never wanted to beg at signals or get into sex work. She always wanted to work with dignity and wanted to support her family.
“When I grew up, I started working at the garment factory. But there I faced lots of discrimination, torture, harassment. People used to tease me. Then I decided that I don’t want to live my life like this. I am also a normal human being and want to lead my life like any other normal person. When I decided that I want to start a beauty parlour, banks refused to give me a loan because of my gender. The government has a scheme for self-employment but they give us a loan of Rs. 20,000. What can we do with such a small amount? I then borrowed money from my friends and family. Total amount which I borrowed was Rupees five lakhs. I repaid everyone with interest,” said Priya.
Priya’s sexual orientation was happily welcomed by her family. But this does not happen to every transgender who are out there in the society. There are so many of them who are not supported by her family neither by the society. Because they lack education it becomes unable for them to find good jobs and that’s why they beg during the day time and go for their sex work at night.
Today, there are so many Non-Government Organizations that are looking after the development and empowering the transgender community. They are working collectively with transgenders for their employment and job opportunities with Multi-National Companies.
Preety Mehra who works as a training facilitator with PeriFerry Foundation said, “We train those transgender who are looking up for good jobs. We guide them on their spoken English, communication skills, computer skills etc. Once the training period is over, we start helping them with getting a good corporate jobs.”
The PeriFerry Foundation which works for the trans gender community’s empowerment believes that it is necessary for the transgenders to get good jobs and give up sex work and begging, to live a life of dignity.
Various Multi-National Companies and media houses realised that encouraging transgenders to work and help them by providing opportunities is not just the government’s job but is a collective duty to help them to live a life on their own terms.
But do the transgenders want jobs just for the sake of it? They just don’t need jobs but with that they also need respect and good treatment from the society.
Rakshita, a trans activist said, “How many community people are studying in colleges and universities? We need jobs and other opportunities on the basis of our education and other work experience. We do not want sympathy and empathy. Be like normal human being, we are also natural human beings. Simply you brought policy, you worked and we worked and then forget. No, that is not what we want. Many community people do not get to study because they are socially rejected and dejected. Government just talk to us for votes but what do they have for us? What do they do for our community’s welfare? When we ask for good working opportunities they say that why do you want anything you yourself chose begging and sex work. No we did not choose begging and sex work. You made us to choose that. Stop giving 1 rupee star giving one employment there is the change. That is the challenge for you guys.”
According to the 2011 census data, there are around 4,90,000 transgenders in the country. Out of which 60 percent are educated to get a good job but only 10 percent are having the job. And their fight for good job and a job that would give them respects, continues.