Draft Policy on Transgenders
The Government has made public its process of formulating a holistic welfare policy for the transgender persons in the state. The policy is aimed at providing a legal framework for the welfare of transgenders which will include their social inclusion, education, employment, healthcare and other related issues.
The Social Welfare Department which will be part of formulating the policy has put the Draft Policy in public domain to solicit views and suggestions of the stakeholders. The policy though a welcome step has been initiated to ensure that there is no discrimination, abuse and violence against anyone on the basis of gender identity or their sexuality.
Transgenders have always existed in every society, culture, and religion. The nonconformity to the prescribed gender roles (which is societal), excludes them from the mainstream and people most of the times treat them as inferior. Kashmir has been no exception to this fact.
We as human beings irrespective of gender, class, race, ethnicity, religion, and region are entitled to various rights including equal opportunity, life with dignity, freedom of speech and no discrimination or violence.
Even Islam categorically supports the existence and rights of those who fit the picture of being neither a woman nor even a man. It maintains the opportunity of equality for men, women, and transgenders. This includes the accessibility to various social, economic, and political services. One can be guaranteed that equal rights are served when it comes to Islam. The prophet of Islam (PBUH) also treated transgender with reverence and prohibited their maltreatment. He did not look down upon them.
However, these people have become the victims of institutional injustices and the wrong information about religion is further marginalizing them. Even transgenders have been disallowed to pray in mosques and in many cases they have been even deprived to be buried in graveyards.
In 2015, a transgender who died in Dalgate, was refused burial in the local graveyard. This section of the society has seen the worst of times as most of them are disowned by families and are being barred from being part of our social fabric.
Their role has been limited to match making in our social intercourse and in few cases they are being allowed to perform during the marriage ceremonies, though that too has been witnessing a decline now.
The transgenders have been witnessing a ruthless expression from the society they are part of. The people have not been able to understand where they are positioned in the society; they are located at the extreme margin of exclusion having no socio-political space where they can lead a life of a human being with dignity.
Transgender community of Kashmir is persistently subjected to various institutional injustices. The cycle of oppression starts from birth and continues till death. Their life is full of abuses, humiliations and discriminations. In such a scenario the government’s plan to bring in a policy draft is not only a welcome step but this move should be taken to its logical conclusion so that a fresh beginning can be made to get this community their due rights and privileges.