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We were asked for sexual favours for Rs 50: LGBTs

The Tribune 2018-07-11 01:52:00
Members of community attend a conference on their rights & concerns

“Though we are hoping to live a life with dignity, we are still asked to provide sexual favours for a mere Rs 50. Also, children as small as 13 years of age want to seek pleasure from us in the city,” said Deepak Rana, chairperson of Shaan Foundation, a state-level NGO looking after the concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the state. He was addressing a state-level conference, organised by the NGO, to create awareness of concerns and rights of the LGBT community. With the recent rise in the number of attacks on member of the community and death of a transgender for a meagre Rs 50 by some youths in the city last week, over 100 members of the community on Tuesday attended the event at KL Sehgal Memorial Hall. Miss India (Punjab) Navpreet Kaur, who was also among the top five finalists of the Femina Miss India, moderated the panel discussion on the LGBT rights by renowned panelists. Among those who attended the seminar were renowned social rights activist Abhina Aher, a full-time staff member of the Indian HIV-AIDS Alliance responsible for a national campaign aimed at expanding AIDS awareness and prevention. “We are staying in a country where equal rights are granted to every citizen. This is time that we should come out of oppression and be a part of society. One should not lose hope for not getting a job but look for various skill development avenues to become independent and to live a life with dignity,” said Abhina. “While one person had died last week, the hands of another person were chopped off a few months ago when she sought money in return for sexual favours. As no job opportunity is available for us, a majority of us are still surviving on flesh trade,” said Rana. Also, renowned lawyer PPS Ahluwalia, while representing the District Legal Services authority (DLSA), spoke on the rights of the community and urged them to come forward to raise their concern or for seeking any legal support. The event was attended briefly by DCP Gurmeet Singh who motivated the community to develop skills so as to live a life with pride. “While one among you is earning up to Rs 1 lakh for a bridal make-up, you too can develop skills to commence some entrepreneurship programme,” said Singh. Miss India finalist joins movement Miss India finalist Navpreet Kaur joined the movement. Speaking highly on the LGBT rights, Miss India top five finalist 2017 Navpreet Kaur said on Tuesday that despite undergoing a huge transformation in the past many years, society had not changed its stand on the LGBT rights. “No pain can be greater than the fact to feel that your very existence is a crime and you are discriminated against only because of what you are. It’s horrid, just like apartheid. Sadly in the country, except for the glamour industry, gay people are looked down upon. Its time society should accept them as its part,” said Kaur. No LGBT schools in city According to Deepak Rana, while there are numerous children born as part of the LGBT community, there are no special schools run by the district administration for them. “They were abused, mocked at and even traumatised by fellow students and even by teachers. There is a dire need to open at least a single school exclusively for the LGBT children,” said Rana.

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