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India gets its first radio taxi services to be chauffeured by the LGBT community in Mumbai. It is expected to start functioning by 2017.
India’s first radio taxi service for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community was introduced in Mumbai on January 20. This marked another achievement for the LGBT community in India. Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust initiated this program that will have people from this community ply taxis in the city. According to this program, volunteers will apply for driving license and meanwhile, undergo customer etiquette training.
Mr Kharat, founder-director of Wings Travels and Management (India), said Wings Travels currently operates approximately 5,500 radio taxis in nine cities including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, and Chandigarh. “We want them to be eventual entrepreneurs and own these vehicles. We want to ensure that the LGBT community in India enjoys the same rights and livelihood opportunities in India as their counterparts in the West,” he said to the media. He also added that while the first five volunteers are trained, they will continue to enroll people from the LGBT community across the country.
India is one of the very few countries in the world that recognizes Hijras as a gender separate from men or women. Though same-sex marriages are not legal in India, the country has had progressed in many such cases lately. The Tamil Nadu state in India was the first state to introduce a transgender welfare policy, according to which, transgender people can access free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in the Government Hospital; free housing program; various citizenship documents. Tamil Nadu also has a Transgender Welfare Board.
In November 2015, the Madras high court has directed Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) to appoint a transgender, K Prithika Yashini, as sub-inspector of police saying she is entitled to get the job. In the same year, India’s first transgender college principal Manobi Bandopadhyay was appointed in West Bengal in June. These instances has made the community, often separated from the general public, feel secure in their own homeland.
“Her (Manobi Bandopadhyay) appointment will empower and inspire others from the community. It also establishes that everybody, irrespective of their gender, is equal before the law,” said Vice-Chancellor Rattan Lal Hangloo, Kalyani University. These major steps taken by the government has taken not just the community a step forward, but has also changed the perceptive that people had against the LGBT community. It has also encouraged many from the community to come forward and make a mark in the society, and to earn a happy living.
Cover image via Hindu
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