Maharashtra will organize its first ever convention for transgenders on 3 October with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as chief guest.
The conclave will be jointly conducted by the state department of women and child welfare, NGO Astitva and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Confirming Chavan's presence at the meet, Astitva chairperson and transgender activist Lakshmi Tripathi, told Indian Express that he will be the first CM to attend such a convention.
The meeting will witness discussions on numerous issues related to transgenders, including setting up a welfare board for them in the state. Transgenders will also put forth their demands for easy access to education, health facilities, employment, shelter, inclusion in government schemes and non-discriminatory laws, Tripathi revealed, according to The Hindustan Times.
Tripathi also said that the deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar will also participate in the conclave that would be held at YB Chavan auditorium in Mumbai. She said that the meeting would be a "historical event" as topnotch Maharashtra politicians are expected to attend.
"We have been working towards the inclusion of the transgender community in all our schemes and policies. This conclave is only a step in that direction," Varsha Gaikwad, minister for woman and child development in the state, told The Hindustan Times.
Ashok Row Kavi of Humsafar Trust that fights for sexual minorities rights explained that Maharashtra should set up a welfare board for transgenders, just like Tamil Nadu did by forming the Arvavani Welfare Board for eunuchs.
He said that nearly 30,000 transgenders live in Mumbai and have to struggle on a daily basis for a living. "None of them are able to find jobs even if they are educated. So they take to prostitution and crime in total desperation. It is high time necessary steps were taken to wean them away from crime,'' he told DNA.
Mumbai's Sir King Edward Memorial Hospital was recently accused of discriminating a transgender admitted to the hospital, according to the Indian Express. The patient was not given appropriate treatment, following which transgender activists protested outside the hospital. However, hospital dean Shubhangi Parkar clarified saying that the transgender patient, who was allegedly denied treatment and sent home, was admitted back to the hospital and treated without discrimination.