First socio-economic survey of transgenders begins
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"If you fall sick where do you go?
Have you ever been harassed
What do you identify yourself as?"
These are some of the questions that members of the NGO Samapathik Trust have been asking as they go about conducting the first socio-economic survey of the transgender community of the state. Though the transgender community is said to constitute 0.3 per cent of the general population, the absence of empirical data and scientific analysis of any data has led to a lack of awareness about the community and its needs among planners.
Bindumadhav Khire, the president of the trust, said that the idea for the survey came to the trust after the inclusion of the transgender community in the draft women's policy of the state. "There is very little data available for the community. Also, for the state, when it comes to the details of the community in terms of work, finances health facilities available etc there has been hardly any study done," he said. The trust took on the initiative to conduct this survey, as it feels it can be invaluable to the state government in formulating policies for the community.
The survey will require members of the trust to interact with the transgender community and it will be targeting the various fairs which see many transgender people coming together. "The religious fairs allows the transgender communities coming together and we hit upon it as the best opportunity to interact with them. Incidentally, all the fairs which see such congregation happen in a span of three to four months starting from December," he said.
"The questionnaire we have drawn up has been approved by anthropologist Dr Hemant Apte and covers various facets of the socio-economic life of the community," he said. Other than inquiring about their identity, the questionnaire also tries to probe into details such as how they dress up both in the privacy of their homes and in public, about their marital status, whether they have access to banks etc.