Patna, Sep 14 :
Suman Kumari, Gautam and Anu Priya are upbeat like never before. They hope their dreams will finally be fulfilled and they will get government jobs as Bihar has declared them a ‘third gender’ and made them eligible for reservation.
These three are among the hundreds of transgenders across Bihar who are still deprived of their basic rights and are ill-treated by the society.
“It is a welcome move by the Bihar government to provide reservation to transgenders like me. It will give us more opportunities now to become part of the mainstream,” Suman, a graduate from IGNOU, told IANS.
Suman said the third gender option “will not only give us a sense of identity but confidence to go ahead in life”.
Anu Priya, another transgender, said she was keen for a job in a bank.
“I have applied for a job in a bank. The government’s decision to entitle us for availing quotas in government jobs and services will be an advantage,” Anu Priya, who is a B.A. third-year student of commerce here, told IANS.
Lalan Guru, who has been fighting for the rights of transgenders in Bihar for over three decades, said people still treat them in a different way.
“The government decision to recognise us as third gender is a historic step. This decision will give us more opportunities to live a life with dignity. We had been fighting for rights and against discrimination for long. Now it has given us a big hope,” Lalan said.
Gautam, another college student here, said the government has finally “recognised our existence”.
“It is not a small thing… the first step on a long journey to taste the fruits of development,” Gautam told IANS.
Reshma said the third gender should also be given reservation in panchayats, state assemblies and in parliament.
The Bihar cabinet gave recognition to the third gender by putting them in the annexure 11 of the Other Backward Classes category, following a Supreme Court order.
Principal Secretary (Cabinet) Brajesh Mehrotra said the third gender will be included in Schedule 2 of the list of Backward Castes in Bihar and will be given reservation in government jobs according to the rules and regulations.
Imamuddin Ahmed, director of social welfare, said a welfare board for transgenders will be formed on the lines of a similar board in Tamil Nadu.
“The board is intended to plan strategies for the upliftment of transgenders and help them get social and economic rights,” he said.
Ahmed said a survey of the areas with high transgender population will also start soon.
Amarjeet Sinha, principal secretary in the social welfare department, said the third gender has remained deprived of their basic rights, and now efforts were being taken to ensure them those rights and facilities.
A decade back, the state election department had set the ball rolling by categorising them as ‘female gender’ in electoral rolls.
The public health and engineering (PHE) department has also been asked to develop special washrooms in public places for the third gender, Sinha said.
Special medical facilities will be also developed in public hospitals, he added.
The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had recommended the inclusion of transgenders in the central list of OBCs.
The NCBC’s decision came after a Supreme Court order in April that directed the central and state governments to treat the transgenders as socially and educationally backward classes, to extend reservation in admission in educational institutions and for public appointments.