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ASSAM

Assam: Government approves draft policy for transgender community

The draft policy describes functions of the board, including the responsibility of implementation and monitoring programmes for the social, political and economic development of the community

Mehzabin Sultana

Guwahati: Assam will now have its very own transgender welfare board to make efforts for the uplift of the community as the state government approved a draft policy for the welfare of the state's transgender community on Wednesday.

Once this policy comes into existence it will create a transgender welfare board and this board will look after various issues relating to the reservations for transgenders in educational institution, jobs, and also into day-to-day harassment by police officials or the society. All these types of discrimination will be covered under by the transgender welfare board.

Lawyer and activist Swati Bidhan Baruah, state’s first judge from the transgender community, has been at the forefront of the struggle to get the draft policy approved for nearly a year.

Transgender lawayer and activist Swati Bidhan Baruah
Transgender lawayer and activist Swati Bidhan Baruah
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Speaking with EastMojo, Baruah said, "I think this policy, for now, will be enough for the upliftment of the community.” The lawyer added that she was a part of the advisory committee which formulated the transgender policy, providing inputs and assisting the state government in making the policy.

When asked on the key features of the policy, Baruah said: “The key features of the policy are mainly the state will have its own state-level transgender board and then the district level welfare board will be constituted in each and every 33 districts and the apex will the state-level welfare board and they will be monitoring the districts level boards.”

The approval by the state government means that Assam’s transgender community will now have a proper platform to express their grievances. This will help to integrate the community into the mainstream society, which has been forced to live on the fringes.

Sharing her personal journey with EastMojo, the activist said, "This was not at all an easy fight because for the past 10 years I kept myself fighting to an extent socially and legally and going against the government. [It] sometimes gave me nightmares. Many peoples started objecting to me, they also have taunted me but I kept on moving and kept working for this community and finally, we have the result in our hands".

The draft policy also described the functions of a transgender welfare board, including that it would have the responsibility of implementation and monitoring programmes for the social, political and economic development of the transgender community.

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