India: Government proposes benefits for trans children

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The Indian government has proposed a new benefit system for helping families support trans children.

The plans, due to be started next year, include a benefit of Rs 1000 (£10) a month paid to parents of trans children. Families who earn below a set amount can claim the benefit by submitting a declaration that their child is showing “gender non-conforming behaviour”.

Transgender people in India are often ostracised from society, and many live in extreme poverty under threats of violence. Very few complete education, a large proportion have HIV, and other health issues are rampant.

Activist Priya Babu told the Indian Telegraph: “It was very important to include parents under the scheme as they have to face and fight against violence, social intolerance, discrimination and stigma for their transgender child. They should be given incentives and counselling to prevent them from abandoning their children.”

Trans children in secondary school will also receive a monthly grant.

A government official said: “There is a high rate of dropouts especially during the shift from the elementary to the secondary stage and it has to be minimised. It is only through education that they can fight the stigma attached to them.”

There will also be scholarship grants for higher education, and extra funding for educational courses to help learn skills necessary for jobs. There are estimated to be 3 million trans people in India.

In April, India’s Supreme Court gave trans people legal recognition, allowing a third gender category on identity documents.