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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) in Odisha has invited public views and comments on the comprehensive Draft Transgender Policy on the measures and procedures necessary to protect transgenders in accordance with the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

The department has requested the public to send views, comments and feedbacks on the drafted policy within 30 days from today.

As per the notification issued by the department, the policy will ensure that no opportunity is denied to transgender persons, merely on grounds of sexual orientation.

The Government of Odisha has issued this policy realizing the inadequacy of the progress made so far, for the transgender people in the state. This policy covers all categories of transgender persons, including but not limited to female to male Transgender, male to female Transgender and Inter-sex people.

Some major objectives of the policy are:

1. To ensure dignity and protection of the rights of the Transgender persons in the State by integrating within Government policy & to include the transgender category in all Government policies, documents and decisions and in procuring identity documents such as voter ID, passport, PAN card, Aadhar Card, ration card, education certificates and all Government records.

2. To facilitate access to social security, health care, food, drinking water, housing, shelter, public transport, sanitation and other welfare services to transgender persons, especially to the economically poor and socially marginalized sections among them by creating necessary support mechanisms and systems in all Government Departments and public offices including local self-governing bodies.

3. To ensure and promote the protection of transgender persons from harassment, abuse and violence by creating a conducive, safe and secure environment for them in their homes, localities and public places such as hospitals, offices, police stations and prisons

The State Government will set up Transgender Protection Cell to monitor cases of offences against transgender persons and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of such offences under Director General of Police.

Speaking about the draft policy, the President of Odisha Kinner Trust, Menaka Parida said, “We want to get into the mainstream of the society. We want better future for us as well as for our kids. But for this to happen, the policy needs to be implemented in the grassroots level.”

SSEPD Minister, Ashok Panda said, “We have invited views and comments from the concerned departments following which we will frame the policy accordingly for the greater good of the transgenders.”

According to the Census (2011) in Odisha, there are 20,332 transgender persons in Odisha. However, their present numbers would be much higher as they now have the courage to express their transgender identity with the Supreme Court of India, granting legal recognition to a person's self-identified gender as either, male, female or third gender.

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