Members of the Karnataka Transgender Committee condemned the decision of the state Child Welfare Committee(CWC) to place a teenaged transgender person in a government boys’ home for two weeks.
Transgender activist Akkai Padmashali, who reportedly visited the home, said that the teenager, who identifies as female, was placed in the home with over 300 boys who are harassing her, reported The Times of India.
“She identifies herself as female and has been put in the boys’ home against her consent,” said Akkai Padmashali
“When we visited her, she told us that the boys there were harassing her every day. She said she didn't want to stay there,” she said.
The 17-year-old was taken to the home after her mother told police that the minor was in contact with the group of transgender persons who have been accused in a case of forcible genital mutilation. The mother grew concerned after watching a Kannada channel’s sting operation on the issue. The city police took the minor to CWC who placed her in the boy’s home.
Akkai says that the main concern is with the possible psychological effects of the CWC’s decision. “One needs to understand the psychology of the child before making any decisions. If nothing else, the committee must take action with regard to her complaints that other boys are assaulting her,” she said.
The transgender committee plans to hold a protest in Bengaluru on October 21.
CWC officials said that the minor had been taken to the home for counselling so that she could understand the full range of educational and career opportunities available, and not get drawn into sex work.
“Children's homes are reception spaces where the child undergoes counselling and rehabilitation. The teen in question shows female tendencies and has expressed the desire to be a girl, but considering the child hasn't undergone any gender reassignment surgery and the first priority is given to the parents' concerns, we have to ensure that the child undergoes proper counselling by the committee,“ said Divya Narayanappa, district child protection officer, Bengaluru Urban.
However, officials also admitted that the current system did not have provision for dealing with transgender minors.
Kripa Alva, chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) said that the department was facing a staff crunch, and hence could not set up separate facilities for transgender persons.
“In such a situation, they need to undergo adequate counselling until further action is taken,”she said.