PANAJI: With more than 10,000 persons from the LGBT community living in Goa, they are struggling for their right of ‘Same Sex Marriage since the last two decades to do away with the social stigma and live happily in the coastal state.
In Goa there are seven transgenders who have been given election cards, but they have complained that they are discriminated against in jobs.
Lal Baig, project manager of ‘Humsaath Trust Goa, speaking to IANS said that there are around 4,500 LGBT members registered with this trust. “There are more than 10,000 members belonging to the LGBT community. Some willingly come to us and get registered. But some stay away,” he said.
“We need permission for ‘Same Sex Marriage’. Many people who don’t have partners, commit suicide. There will be no such cases of suicide if we start living together by getting legal recognition of Same Sex Marriage,” he said.
“It is an equal right that we also should get. We have been fighting for a long time, maybe for the last two decades. We don’t have the right also for child adoption,” he said.
“If we live together, after the death of that partner we don’t get property rights. We can’t claim property from our partner. This should be changed and we should be given that right,” Baig said.
He said that members of his trust are mostly from the middle class as the upper classes don’t get registered.
According to him once permission is granted they will get acceptance from the families of their partners and others. “There will be no discrimination. People look at us in a cheap way. For transgenders it is a horrible situation as they don’t get a place to stay. There are many issues, they don’t get jobs. This also happens with gays, once society comes to know that a person is gay, they don’t get jobs,” he said.
He said that small events are organised for get-togethers of LGBTs and counselling is given to them. “There are 25 lesbians registered with our trust. They too come and enjoy the events,” he said.
Speaking to IANS, Beena (name changed), a transgender, said that they should get all the rights that others enjoy. “If there was a law to get married, I would have married long back and would have settled with my family. But today my age is 47 years, and now I can’t think of getting married at this age. However, there should be a law so that this generation can at least settle down,” Beena said.
Speaking about the social stigma she has faced, Beena said that even her village people were not accepting her. “I left my house after completing my studies in college. I came to Goa and worked as a sex worker and then left this trade after I was convinced by some NGOs about the HIV issue. Later I started begging and till today I am continuing to do the same,” she said.
“We face several issues. Nobody gives us a room for rent or a job. Hence we are forced to beg. Here we are harassed by officials and the public. We also have the right to live with dignity and hence the system should provide us all the rights,” Beena said, adding that ‘marriage with same sex’ should be considered.
“I also want to appeal to be vigilant about fake transgenders in the state. They just wear a saree and makeup. They are men and opt for this garb to earn money by hoodwinking people,” she said.
Beena, who is from the Konkan belt of Maharashtra, said that people should not discriminate against them, they should be seen as a human being. “Nobody sits besides us in the bus or train. This discrimination should be stopped.”
Another transgender, who is married to a normal man from Goa, said that permission should be given for ‘Same Sex Marriage’ as it is important. “Family members from my husband’s side have slowly started to accept me,” she added.
“I fight for the cause of transgenders and I even feel that there should be separate lockups for us in police stations. Whenever a transgender is arrested, the police get confused in which lockup we should be placed,” she stated.
A gay on the condition of anonymity said that the court should consider their demand and give them legal recognition. “Our body changes naturally. If we want to live with a partner of our choice then that right should be given to us,” he said.