The government in an north-eastern Indian state will help pay for gender affirming surgeries.
Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, made the announcement this week.
He said his government would give 1.5 lakh rupees (US$1,452/€1,941) to trans people hoping to undergo surgery. Modi also promised to Kinnar Kalyan Board to help the development of the trans community in Bihar.
‘The newly formed Bihar Rajya Kinnar Kalyan Board (Bihar State Transgender Welfare Board) will also look into facilities being provided to the members of this community in other States…so that they too could be given to them here in Bihar,’ Modi said.
The funding will cover only a small portion of the surgeries. Gender affirming surgeries can cost between 8 and 55 lakh rupees in India.
Other states in India to provide funding for surgeries including Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Modi further announced that anyone who denies a trans person housing or employment could face up to two years in jail.
His announcement comes as the national government voted on a controversial trans rights bill.
Indian Transgender Rights Bill
Indian Cabinet removed a provision from the Transgender Rights Bill which forced transgender people to gain certification from a district screening committee to be acknowledged as a transgender.
LGBTI advocates have argued the bill restricts, rather than protects transgender people’s rights.
‘In the name of empowering us, this bill further attempts to criminalize and regulate our identities through arbitrary and draconian means’ a spokesperson for LGBT group Sampoorna told Gay Star News.
India introduced a third gender option on official documents after a historic court ruling in 2014. But the trans community continues to face persecution and discrimination across the country.
This is despite some effort from different state governments to improve trans rights.
In Bihar for example, the government hired a group of trans women to protect residents at care homes from rape.
‘Apart from providing us employment, the new job will also give us social recognition,’ said one of the hired women, Anita Hijra
‘This could be a small initiative but will bring huge change in the society in the long run. We are very happy.’