Lucknow - Lucknow witnessed a significant initiative on 22nd June, 2022, as the Qaiserbagh police station established the first police desk dedicated to the transgender community in Uttar Pradesh. The idea was a recommendation from the Transgender Welfare Board, aiming to set up such desks in all police stations, similar to the women help desks already present in most Lucknow police stations. Surprisingly, The Mooknayak discovered that Qaiserbagh police station remains the sole operational help desk for the transgender community in the entire city.
Even at the Qaiserbagh police station, located within the DCP office compound, only one case was registered in the past ten months as of 02/11/2023, while three cases were registered the previous year. SHO Sudhakar Singh informed The Mooknayak, “There was one case of assault registered in July, and the investigation is ongoing.” The transgender desk at Qaiserbagh, Lucknow is the second such initiative after the one at Gawcholi Police Station in Cyberabad, Telangana.
The initiative was hailed as a significant step towards shattering societal barriers and integrating the transgender community into the mainstream. However, the stigma surrounding transgender individuals often deters them from filing complaints. Consequently, the establishment of the initiative aimed to bridge this gap and draw the community closer to the societal forefront.
A crucial obstacle contributing to the hesitation in filing complaints is the lack of necessary documentation. Preeti, a transgender individual, highlighted the prevailing unawareness regarding a dedicated desk for the transgender community. She expressed the challenges faced when attempting to register complaints, stating, "The police officers are hesitant to document our complaints. They demand various proofs and documents, such as the Aadhar card. Only when we approach as a collective do they feel compelled to take our report."
Adding to this, Sudha Tiwari, another transgender individual, echoed the lack of awareness about any other police station apart from Qaiserbagh police station.
Crimes against the third gender are aggravated by the lack of documentation and a discriminatory attitude from the police. Many incidents have been reported where transgender individuals were falsely charged or suspected of engaging in prostitution by the authorities.
Despite some transgender individuals gaining educational opportunities and making strides in various fields, discrimination and harassment against them persist. In 2020, only 236 crimes were reported where the victims identified themselves as transgender.
In 2014, a distressing incident unfolded where a Mumbai-based transgender individual alleged being coerced into oral sex by two police constables and a police officer in Ajmer. Tragically, after reporting the incident, the victim was apprehended by the police under allegations of attacking an officer, as reported by The Deccan Chronicle.
Further unfortunate events ensued. In July 2022, the body of a 25-year-old transgender individual was discovered with stab wounds near Japanese Park in the Rohini area of New Delhi.
In July 2023, two transgender individuals, identified as Yousuf and Sofiya, were found murdered in Hyderabad.
Additionally, in October 2023, the body of another transgender person was found stuffed in a sack in the Guwahati district of Assam.
A significant milestone occurred in 2017 when K Prithika Yashini made history as the first transgender woman to join the Indian police force as a Sub-Inspector in Chennai at the age of 25.
However, while the initiative to establish transgender desks might face challenges in recruiting sufficient candidates from the transgender community, proactive steps can be taken to ensure that law enforcement officers are sensitized to the unique issues faced by transgender individuals. This approach is crucial to building a more inclusive and supportive environment for the transgender community within law enforcement agencies.
While Kerala recorded a significantly lower count of 3,902 transgender individuals according to the 2011 census, the state has remarkably led the way in implementing trans-friendly policies. Despite having a smaller population, Kerala stands out for its pioneering efforts in supporting the transgender community.
In 2018, the Kerala government took a ground breaking step by introducing a 24×7 helpline. This helpline serves as a crisis management center specifically designed to offer immediate and essential aid to transgender individuals. Its services encompass a broad spectrum, including emergency legal assistance, provision of information regarding basic rights, and offering counselling services tailored to the unique needs of the transgender community.
Kerala's proactive measures in establishing support systems such as this helpline set a commendable precedent, emphasizing the state's commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for the transgender population, despite their relatively smaller numbers compared to other regions in the country.