‘Vijaya Yatra’, led by Kerala BJP Chief K Surendran has been gaining huge support from the civil society. Many eminent personalities joined BJP at various places by accepting membership from the state president. Now, five members from the transgender community took BJP membership from the Kerala Party chief at a program held at Tripunithura. One among them, Avanthika Vishnu spoke to the Organiser Weekly about her decision to join BJP and made shocking revelations about the present condition of the members of the transgender community in Kerala.
Avanthika Vishnu was an office-bearer of AISF, the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI). “But once I revealed my identity, my fellow comrades were reluctant to accept who I am and they made fun out of me. After that, I stayed away from AISF. But I continued to be a left-oriented person,” Avanthika told Organiser. “The biggest thing that I realised from my life is the ‘Communist Parties’ fake love for the Transgender community. They are just trying to score political points by using us,” she added.
“Kerala government has been making tall claims regarding rehabilitation of transgender community members. But in reality, nothing is changing at the ground level. Many are still indulging in prostitution to earn a living,” Avanthika said. “Now the state government is making advertisements regarding their projects for the transgender community. Only a few are getting benefits from the government while the needy members of the community are totally sidelined,” she alleged.
“Sex-change surgeries are only happening in private hospitals where the cost is extremely high. The community members are forced to arrange money for their surgeries either by doing sex work or by begging. There is no other way that a member of the transgender community can find a job in Kerala. I took a loan from a financial institution for my surgery. It took a year for me to get the money promised by the government. By that time the interest that I had to pay for the borrowed amount exceeded the money given by the state government,” She complained.
“The state government is not following any procedures while issuing transgender ID cards. There are many cases of duplication which I am aware of. If any individual approaches the government claiming that he/she is transgender. He gets a government-approved ID card. This can be easily misused for gaining incentives from the government. There should be a proper procedure for identity confirmation,” demanded Avanthika.
“State government would announce various projects for the transgender community members. They even go to the extent of taking the list of beneficiaries. But when we enquire, they will tell us that the project stands cancelled,” she said. “The state government had boasted about giving jobs to the members of the transgender community in Kochi metro. But due to various issues including the inability to find accommodation, many transgenders had to quit their jobs,” she said.
When asked about anti-Hindu or anti-BJP contents being shown in various LGBTQ pride marches, Avanthika said that there are people with vested interests who infiltrate such gatherings. “They have their own agendas. They even influenced our thought process,” she said.
Avanthika had enrolled on the BA history program at CMS College, Kottayam. But later she had to drop out of the course due to health issues. Now, she is planning to take forward her studies and join an Undergraduate course. She is hoping to make positive changes to the lives of the members of the transgender community who are facing a lot of hardships.
“After joining BJP, now I am under cyber-attack. There are only a few BJP followers on my Facebook Friend’s list. Most of them are communists. Now they are targeting my transgender identity. Let them say anything. Many more members from my community will join BJP soon. I will work for BJP in the upcoming assembly election, to make sure that my party wins,” Avanthika said with a lot of enthusiasm.