Bihar's First Transgender Shelter
By Shriya Karuturi
Once again we stand in awe as Bihar leads the way in trans rights! It started in 2019 when the state announced a jail sentence to all those who denied them sale or rent of houses on the grounds that they are transgender. In the same year, the government introduced a transgender welfare board to look into their issues and protect their rights. Later in July of 2019, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi announced that if someone from the transgender community undergoes a sex change operation, the Bihar government would give ₹1.5 lakh to aid them financially. And let's not forget, in January of 2021 Bihar announced that one in every 500 constables/sub-inspectors recruited will be reserved for members from the transgender community. Now this, I feel, is a controversial one– is it change or charity? Transgenders have been put on one side and all other genders on one, regardless, Bihar has definitely raised the bar by being the first to include transgenders in the forces. Moving on, Bihar is the first state in India to begin an annual pride festival for their transgender community “Kinnar Mahotsav”. Like wow! Damn Bihar, you're really doing your part.
Recently, Bihar has set up its first transgender home in Patna, under the “Garima Greh” scheme which aims to help integrate transgender people into mainstream society. And get this, it’s not just a home but it's also a skill-training center, shoutout to Bihar for really going all the way through and trying their best to help their trans community. This three-storey home can support 25 people at a time and will aid in integrating them into mainstream society by making them self-sufficient and empowered through skill training programs which come in a range of options depending on what profession they’d prefer.
Reshma Prasad, the convener of the organisation said, “Trainers are imparting skills on them that will allow them to be self-reliant to earn their livelihood instead of begging”. We stan Reshma and all people involved in this terrific program. This home is open to all trans people who cannot earn money or have been forcefully emancipated or abandoned by their families.
In conclusion, I think Bihar is the blueprint for trans empowerment and integration. Not only are they fighting for the community to live equally but equitably as well. Now I don't mean to prematurely pat them on the back, they certainly have more to do. But compared to other states Bihar really is a leading contender in 'most trans progressive'. On that note, Happy Pride month, we’ve come a long way but we’ve still got miles to go. This Pride month, let’s talk about the trans community. Let’s welcome them with love and affection. This month, let’s celebrate the queer community's wins whilst not forgetting that the fight isn't over. Happy Pride month!