.........BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Government has chalked out a dedicated policy for transgender community which seeks to protect rights of the gender non-conforming child. It says action will be taken against parents who desert such children while support will be provided to those who take care of specific needs of the transgender child.The draft Odisha Transgender Policy 2017 proposes that the Government will develop capacity of anganwadi workers and staff of frontline child service providers so that they are responsive to the needs of transgender children.
Similarly, protection will be provided to students, staff and teachers of different sexual orientations and gender identities against social exclusion and violence within the school environment, including bullying and harassment.
The draft policy, which seeks feedback from the public, says that the Government will ensure that students subjected to exclusion or violence are not marginalised. Educational institutions should issue transgender policies to address issues of marginalisation, segregation, discrimination and harassment.
The policy also entrusts responsibility on police to prevent violence and violation of their human rights. It says police must be sensitised to issues of human rights violation to ensure dignity, safety and security of the transgender people.
The policy mandates every police station to develop a documenting system to record incidents and compile statistics of crime against the transgenders. In case of the involvement of police officials in offences against the transgender persons, criminal and disciplinary action will be taken against them, the policy document prepared by the Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) says.
The policy calls for sustained investigation of cases of violence against transgenders. If evidence is found, those responsible will be prosecuted, tried and punished besides the fact that the victims will be provided with redressal mechanism including compensation.
The Odisha Government was the first in the country to announce welfare measures for the third gender last year.
As per Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011, the transgender population in Odisha stands at 43,161 in rural areas and 4,632 in urban areas. They form 0.049 per cent of rural households and 0.01 per cent of urban residents in the State. A study commissioned by the Department of SSEPD found that the headcount could be more since increasing number of transgenders are coming out in open after the Supreme Court order.
While there is high level of poverty and unemployment among them, they also face disparities in access to health care, education, employment, housing and legal services.