Indian state will pay for trans people’s gender reassignment surgeries

The Indian state of Kerala, which lies on the country’s Malabar Coast, has said it will fund transgender people’s gender reassignment surgeries.

Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan posted about his decision on Facebook, saying the state government would pay 200,000 rupees (£2,245) so that trans people can pay for their operations.

It is the second Indian state to make such an announcement, after nearby Tamil Nadu.

“The government, which has ensured the rights of education and employment of transgender community, will now bear the cost of sex change surgery too,” Vijayan wrote, as translated by Times of India. 

In May, Surya and Ishaan K Shaan became the first trans couple to ever marry in Kerala, which has a population of more than 34 million people.

The pair got married in front of more than 500 people in a beautiful ceremony at Mannam Hall in Thiruvananthapuram, after a change in Indian law allowed for trans people to marry.

Elsewhere in India, the state of Bihar recently said it will start hiring transgender people and eunuchs as security guards in girls and womens’ care homes, following a series of sexual assaults.

An audit report of more than 100 safe houses in the state in eastern India revealed that girls were being systematically abused by staff at a centre in the city of Muzaffarpur, reports the Guardian. 

Surya and Ishaan K Shaan became the first trans couple to get married in Kerala . (‎Hifsu Rahman Maliyekal/facebook)

In July, a security guard was also detained after being suspected of raping a girl at a care home where he worked in Chapra, which lies north of Bihar’s capital Patna.

The assaults resulted in protests in the state about the safety and conditions inside the homes. These have been led by women’s groups like All India Progressive Women’s Association and Bihar Women’s Network.

Atul Prasad, head of Bihar’s social welfare department, told the Guardian that the state would employ trans people and eunuchs in light of the sexual assaults.

Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community take part in a pride parade in New Delhi on November 12, 2017. Hundreds of members of the LGBT community marched through the Indian capital for the 10th annual Delhi Queer Pride Parade. / AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

A Pride parade in New Delhi in 2017. (Getty)

“The recent incidents of rapes at short stay homes have shocked us,” said Prasad. “So we have planned to employ eunuchs as guards there.”

In south Asian societies, eunuchs fall under the umbrella term “hijras,” which also encompasses intersex people and, more recently, trans men.

Prasad claimed that hiring hijras would be beneficial because this marginalised group would get jobs, and women and girls in the care homes would be safer.