For the very first time in the history, transgender members from Ondede were invited by the Reserve Bank of India on the 6th of July to be part of Board of Directors meeting, to discuss with Honorable Governor Raghuram G. Rajan about the economic status of the Transgender community in India. It was a privilege to be a part of this event, and to see the issues of trangenders being represented within economic policy formation. Dr. Rajan instructed to Directors of RBI to take necessary action for the inclusion of transgenders at all the levels. Other friends and Ondede supporters who were present at the meeting were Kiran Mazumdar, MP Rajeev Gowda, the Vice Chancellor of NLS, and the theatre Activist Prasanna.
Jointly organized by Ondede and the Gender Sensitization cell, a public lecture was held at the St. Joseph’s College Auditorium on the 5th of July, with guest speaker Dr. Smitha Radhakrishnan, who is a professor of Sociology at Wellesley College in Boston, USA.
Dr Radhakrishna’s talk was on “radical inclusivity”, which is an inclusivity that maintains at its core the idea that every human has the right to thrive equally amongst other humans. Her talk was thus an imagination of a radically inclusive world, where we embraced inclusivity in our work and professional spheres, in our societal norms, in our love and our relationships and in the manner in which we produce our knowledge.
The lecture was followed by a question and answer session with the audience and the presiding panel, which apart from Dr. Radhakrishnan, included other eminent speakers such as Ms. Meera Chakraborty, Ms. Akkai Padmashali, Professor Kiran Jeevan and Professor. Padma Baliga. The discussion was powerful and insightful, and drew in many perspectives from an engaged audience. The topic of inclusivity and exclusivity within our society is a topic that deserves much more discussion and thought, and affects every single person’s life. Ondede was proud to be part of such a forum that helped begin this discussion within our minds, and our communities.
Students from Mt. Carmel College visited the Ondede office on the 30th of June, to learn about convergence. It was a pleasure to see youth involving themselves within these discussions, and speak so passionately on these burning social issues.
The Karnataka Police Academy,Mysore and Ondede, jointly organized an awareness program for sub-inspectors and senior officers across Karnataka, including the Director of the Karnataka Police Academy The program took place on the 16th of June, and aimed to educate and bring awareness surrounding issues of gender identity, sexual diversity and human rights. More than 300 police officers attended the program. Members from the sexual minority community, including a kothi, a trans-woman, a trans-girl and a homosexual man also shared their testimonies, which helped closely understand the issues faced by sexual minorities in Karnataka. The session was moderated by Dr. Akkai Padmashali.
Ondede organized a mass gathering at Town Hall on the 14th of June, in memory of those killed at the gay bar in Orlando during the shootout.
Read about it here: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/
We condemn such horrible acts of violence and discrimination.
Ondede co-founder Ms. Akkai Padmashali, on 31st May (Also her birthday) received an honorary doctorate from the Indian Virtual University for Peace and Education based in Geneva, Switzerland, for her outstanding work in the field of social activism. A proud reflection indeed, of all that she has achieved in the field of gender and sexuality rights.
Congratulations Dr. Akkai!
Ondede, the Karnataka Transgender Samithi, the Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Payana, Samara, and Jeeva jointly organized a state level consultation on caste, class and gender. The guest speakers for the event were Honourable chairperson Shri Kantharaju of Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission, Ms. Yashodha – eminent dalit rights activist and founder of Dalita Mahila Vedike – and Ms. Gowri of Mahila Munnade. The event aimed to understand the difference between caste, class and gender, and to help understand the Supreme Court of India’s National Legal Service Authority v/s Union of India’s NALSA judgement – which recognizes the transgender community as an “other backward class” community – in light of these differences. More than a hundred transgender community members from across Karnataka participated in the consultation, and it was unanimously agreed that the transgender community must indeed be recognized as a “class” minority and not as a “caste and religious” minority. The program was supported by the donations raised by the Hijra community at the Karnataka Administrative Service Auditorium, Bangalore. This consultation helped in affirming the recognition of the transgender community as a class minority. The meeting was followed by the submission of a report on the consultation to the governor, the chief minister and the minister for social welfare, demanding that the state government should follow the example of NALSA, and also recognize and treat the transgender community as a class minority.
Gritty Suman makes it to journalism class
Transgender sets out on her quest for a degree at St. Joseph’s Evening College
Getting admission in a college may not be an “achievement” for many, but for 28-year-old Suman, her entry into St. Joseph’s Evening College is not just a milestone for her, but for her entire community.
Ms. Suman, a transgender, had enrolled for the BBM course 11 years ago, but had dropped out unable to bear the ragging and humiliation. She decided to give it another try this year, and joined B.A. Journalism.
“Only education can transform the life of transgender people. It will give us the courage to face challenges and help us integrate into the mainstream,” said Ms. Suman.
She acknowledges the help she received from Ondede, an organisation working for the rights of children, women and sexuality minorities.
As for her classmates, she says they have been “cordial” to her. “Though I was slightly apprehensive in the beginning about the way I would be treated by my classmates, now I have decided to complete the course by facing up to the challenges that crop up. Now my fear has gone. I have decided to concentrate on my studies rather than give importance to other things,” she said.
Meanwhile, Father Maxim Dias, Principal of St. Joseph’s Evening College, told The Hindu that the college had not admitted a transgender before. He was confident that other students would be accommodative. “I do not think there will be any problem for the transgender student,” he said.
Bangalore University, which has reserved a seat for transgender people in each of its postgraduate courses, has failed to find a single taker. The main reason for this is that there aren’t many graduates among transgender people.