India: Sixty-eight percent of LGBT community in Kerala State are school dropouts: Queer Pride

The annual march of the members of LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-sex and queer) community in Kerala, under the auspices of Queer Pride Keralam, was held in Kochi on August 12. This time, the march was flooded with participants with more than 1,000 individuals coming under the sexual minority group taking part in various programmes.

Though Kerala is one among the advanced States in India, the laws and social norms here have not yet been elaborated to include sexual minorities, says Prajith. Right from childhood a transgender person or people with different sexual orientation face social and political taboo.

“Almost 68 per cent of the sexual minority individuals in the State are school dropouts. A very few attend school after Class-VIII. Even though a gay or lesbian person does not face staring from public when he or she is out in the crowd, a transgender individual easily gets noticed. Bullying, harassing and demoralising are usual. So most of them choose to avoid socialisation and coming out in public. Queer Pride has been working to instil confidence in this marginalised section by letting them speak out and stand for themselves,” Prajith said.

Though the State boasts of its vibrant politically-conscious population, the transgender community lacks the opportunity to cast their vote as there is no option in electoral identity cards to mark their gender identity. In the last Assembly election, two people from transgender community cast vote and both of them had undergone sex replacement surgery.

Queer Pride continues to educate the community members on their basic rights and conducts workshops and seminars to boost their self-esteem. Ramp walks and cultural fests are often held at various localities and Queer Pride Keralam annual edition acts as a culmination of all these activities held in a year. Read more via Kochi Post