On Monday, LGBT campaigners urged with the state governments in the country to “learn a lesson” from Kerala after authorities said that they would cover up the cost of gender reassignment surgeries.
Kerala’s chief minister also announced that along with his government, they would contribute around 200,000 rupees, to allow people to have the procedure, the second Indian state to do so after neighboring Tamil Nadu.
“If more money is required, it will be made available,” Jaffar Malik, director of the state’s social justice department, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Monday.
Maya UrmiAher, a transgender woman and rights activist, called it a “welcome step”.
“Other states must learn a lesson from Kerala,” she said.
“Being a community that is so stigmatized and discriminated against, most do not have an education or jobs, meaning they do not have much money.”
Kerala is one of the most transgender-friendly states in India, has put in place measures to improve access to education and jobs. Last month, it announced it would reserve places in higher education for transgender students. Kerala has also assigned three hospitals for gender reassignment surgery and said it would also pay for people to have the procedure outside the state and reimburse those who had already done so.
A 2015 government survey found there were about 25,000 transgender people in Kerala and more than 80 percent wished to undergo the surgery but needed financial help.
FaisulFasu, also a transgender activist in Kerala, said money was often the biggest obstacle to surgery, adding, “this will encourage those who are planning to go for sex reassignment surgery”.
Image Credit- The Citizen.in