Bihar grows more sensitive to the needs of Transgenders . At a recent meeting on disaster management, about a dozen transwomen were invited to air their views.
Sharing their problems, the transgenders asserted that the discrimina
tion they face even more becomes pronounced in the event of natural disasters like floods, because just like the ‘mainstream’ society, government agencies and others who undertake rescue and relief operations, tend to ignore them.
The standard operating procedure for extending help to flood-hit people in Bihar will have special provisions to take care of transgenders and adolescent girls. Efforts are being made to incorporate the related provisions in the existing SOP for floods from this year.
State disaster management authority vice-chairman Vyasji said: “We intend to send our recommendations to the disaster management department this month so that it could be incorporated in the flood standard operating procedure as early as possible.”
The SDMA, as part of flood safety week, had organised a consultative programme to discuss gender sensitive issues which need to be looked into in the events of natural calamities. With the monsoon around the corner and the Met office forecasting a normal monsoon this year, chances of floods hitting the state are strong. During a normal monsoon some 31 districts in Bihar are usually flood prone.
28 districts are heavily prone to flood, particularly those falling along the India-Nepal border. Even if it rains heavily in Nepal, many rivers that flow from Nepal through Bihar start to overflow..
During Thursday’s programme, inaugurated by Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary, more than a dozen transgenders from Patna, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga took part. Reshma Prasad, a transwoman who is pursuing a doctorate course in Patna, was given the task of coordinating the event.
“Transgenders revealed that they face problems in relief camps set up for flood-hit people as women generally don’t allow them to be with them. Transgenders fear molestation in case they have to stay with males,” Vyasji said and added that one of the transgenders narrated how one of their community member kept on requesting people for rescue in Samastipur district during floods but no one came forward while other residents were helped.
“We intend to put some points in the standard operating procedure like provide separate space for transgenders in relief camps, have a separate community kitchen for them and give them equality while carrying out rescue operations so that they don’t feel discriminated,” Vyasji said, and added that these provisions could be put to use in the camps where transgenders came in good numbers during floods.
An issue related to adolescent girls also came up for discussion during the consultation. Pointing it out, social activist Sudha Varghese recalled how a young girl was abused physically in one of the relief camps set up during the 2008 floods.
“Taking note of the point raised by Varghese, we have decided to incorporate special provisions for the safety of such girls and also include points related to health and hygiene issues concerning them,” Vyasji said.
The SDMA the vice-chairman said he had roped in the services of a private agency for formulating district disaster management plans for all the 38 districts of Bihar.
“There will be a separate plan for each district depending on the kind of natural disasters which the given district faces generally. The plans are made after due consultation with the districts,” Vyasji added that the standard operating procedures will be incorporated in the district disaster management plans.