New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said here today that despite the community’s right to equal treatment by law, the situation in the country will only change when the society is sensitised and educated about it.

Speaking at ‘The Bridge 2018’, a platform for conversations on gender issues, Tripathi said that the Supreme Court’s verdict of 2014, which recognised transgenders as the third gender, “won’t make a difference” till they are not “treated with dignity as humans”.

“The entire world applauded the transgender judgement. But ultimately you have to ask yourself in the last four years how many trans people have you talked to. All these verdicts won’t make a difference till the society’s perception doesn’t change and we will have dignity to live as equals,” Tripathi said at a session on LGBTQ community titled ‘377 and Counting’.

While talking about the failure of Kochi Metro in retaining the transgender employees, she said that despite having a job they could not find a place to stay because of the society is still not ready to accept them.

Taking the example of several transgender employees working in different sectors in Puducherry, Tripathi said that there are success stories but an organisation should not hire trans people as a “tokenistic gesture” and should focus on its policies first.

“Now transgender issue is selling like a hot potato in the social sector. We have become a commodity and everyone wants to show that we have transgender employees. I am not a showpiece. The only thing that matters to me to join your organisation or your company is the the workplace policy, the HR policy, my rights as an employee. Transwomen are seen as a sexual object. That anything can be done to them and they won’t complain. So how much am I protected in that situation?” she said.

The session was also attended by equal rights activist Harish Iyer, queer feminist activist Rituparna Borah, lawyer Arundhati Katju, theatre artiste Danish Sheikh, and stand up comic Vasu Primlani.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.