Kerala’s Ernakulam is all set to have its first shelter home for transgenders. The home has been designed exclusively for the community to integrate them into the mainstream said district social justice officer Subair K K. The home will be inaugurated by the state government.
Although the home, situated at Thrikkakara, is yet to be inaugurated, some trans women are already living there. This is the second government shelter home for transgenders to be set up in the state.
“As soon as members of the transgender community reveal their identity, it becomes difficult for them to continue in their respective houses. So, they move out searching for jobs and safe shelter. Unless we take the initiative to give them proper shelter, they will likely be sexually exploited and end up in flesh trade. It is a very commendable effort on the part of the Social Justice Department to sponsor an exclusive shelter home for transgenders in the state,” said Sr Tenslin, caretaker of the shelter home, named Jyothish Bhavan.
Nimisha (name changed), an inmate, told The New Indian Express that before this shelter home was set up, the community was struggling to find accommodation at a reasonable price.
“I had joined Maharajas as a male student, and I revealed my identity while studying there. Later, it was very difficult to get admission in the transgender category. Finally, I got through. The college authorities have been very cooperative and the students are also very friendly. They are respecting my decision to reveal my identity,” she said.
Another inmate, Sudha (name changed), remarked that the older generation still does the accept the transgender community. “I had been working at the shipyard as a man for a long time, and after surgery, I am a trans woman. They reduced my wages, citing that I am no longer a man and that the same wage cannot be given. What justice is this? I am the same individual and my physical strength is the same, even after a sex change surgery,” she said.
As many as seven trans women (students, employees and job-seekers) are staying at Jyothish Bhavan a shelter home, which was incorporated as the shelter home for transgenders by the social justice department last month, said Sr Teslin.