New Delhi, Apr 15: On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court judgement recognising the transgenders as 'third gender', a number of activists from the community today celebrated the occasion by pledging to donate their eyes.
"Eyes do not discriminate, the perspective and perception of people do. We have decided to pledge our eyes as a thank you gesture to Justices A K Sikri and K S Radhakrishnan who had passed the landmark judgement," transgender activist Laxmi Naryan Tripathi said. [We too are human beings: Transgender activist]
Activists from the transgender and transsexual community across the country gathered at Jantar Mantar to celebrate the occasion and pledged to donate their eyes to the Eye Bank Association of India.
"The number of pledges that we have received from the community has crossed over 16,000 and we have vowed to bring the number up to 2 lakh," Tripathi said. [Story of transgender activist Laxmi, now in English]
The Supreme Court had last year passed a judgement granting the country's transsexual and transgender individuals the right to self-identify their gender.
The apex court had also asked the government to treat the 'third gender' as socially and economically backward. However, activists feel that there is a long way to go to grant them equal status in society where they are still looked down upon.
"The government's response and action on the SC order has not been very positive and little effort has been made to help the community. We will also use the opportunity to send across a message to the politicians to end the discrimination and take measures to reduce years of backwardness thrust upon us because of this stigma," Tripathi said.
Another activist Vidya Rajput, who is working for the rights of the transgender community in Chhattisgarh, said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is equally our leader as he is for the rest of the country. I hope he takes cognisance of our community in various schemes launched by him for the country so that 'achhe din' can come for us too".
"We used to think from our childhood days as to who are we? What is our identity? The court judgement did give us some recognition but society is yet to accept us as its part," said Rashmi, an activist from Bihar.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh also joined the celebrations and lauded the transgender community for pledging to donate their eyes.
"By taking such a pledge transgenders have risen above humanity. We discriminate against them but by donating their eyes they are following a new religion and that is of humanity. I congratulate them for the initiative" he said.