Following in the footsteps of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Andhra Pradesh now has a welfare board for transgender persons—Andhra Pradesh Hijra Transgender Welfare Board. The launch—held last Thursday at Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati—was attended by more than 100 representatives of the transgender community from all over the state.
The board is expected to be run by direct democracy and intends to provide trans people access to government welfare schemes. Karthik Bittu Kondaiah, an associate professor at Ashoka University, told The News Minute,
“It should cater not only to visible trans women but also to trans men, gender fluid trans persons and give the minorities in the transgender community an opportunity to study or work… A welfare board is a government institution. It should not be in any way a hierarchical structure. I hope that the welfare board will serve the young members of the community irrespective of their identities.”
As a next step, the transgender community is also trying to get the government to enact laws to protect their rights through a memorandum. This mission is headed by Rachana Mudraboyini, who has high hopes that the board will be able to prevent the sexual, mental, and physical harassment faced by the community.
Hasini, another transgender activist, told The Hindu,
“After the NALSA judgment in April 2014, a lot remains to be done here at the ground level, as the State government is yet to implement the directives. Employment to degree holders can help us stand on our feet. So can loans for business, house sites, and ration cards.”
This move, a huge step towards providing social welfare and justice, has been welcomed by the trans people in the state.