The office of the Chief Electoral Officers of Sikkim in collaboration with the Rainbow Hills Welfare Association (RHWA) observed the International Transgender Day of Visibility. The program was attended by Pema Lhaden Lama Additional chief Electoral officer, ShyamPradhan Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Zangpo Gyalsten,Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (IT cell), Sonam Chhoki Yonzon, Deputy secretary, members of the Rainbow Hills Welfare Association and other officials form the Electoral Office.
The program stared with Avinam Manger, core member of RHWA speaking about the importance of celebrating International Day of Transgender Visibility, citing reference from the history, as to when and how it started. This day is commemorated to celebrate the visibility of Transgenders andto omit the slurs and negativity that the is attached with it.Speaking from the history of the country, the movements and the numbers of the transgenders he also shared that the day is primarily about breaking the social barrier and celebratingtransgender lives.
Dil Kumari Gurung, also a core member of RHWA shared about the SMILE scheme introduced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. She informed the audience about the Garima Greh facility, Transgender Certificate and other benefits offered by the Government.
Sharing her experience Sajan Basnet, RHWA member,expressed gratitude towards State Election Department for their support and acknowledging her as the Sikkim’s first transgender voter. She further shared her lived experience as a transgender and her journey in the Miss Trans Northeast 2022. Yigael Chettri highlighted about the various activities done by RHWA from 2016 to 2023. He encouraged the officers to educate themselves on Transgender Rights and help promote their visibility in Sikkim.
Pema Laden Lama Additional Chief Electoral Officer in her talk expressed her gratefulness for this collaboration and deemed it as a fruitful and informative exercise. She emphasised on the lack of social empathy in Sikkim in regards to Transgender persons. She suggested the organisation to work on bring up the visibility of Transgender Persons and elect a face who could work with the electoral office. She appraised to provide a trans toilet in one of the polling booths in the coming elections.
The program also witnessed the distribution of the Transgender Certificate to seven registered Transgenders in the Gangtok district by Pema Lhaden Lama. Finally, Tshering W. Lepcha, President RHWA proposed the vote of thanks expressing her gratitude to the entire office for collaborating with Rainbow Hills Welfare Association to celebrate such an important day.
Nitesh R Pradhan/Rainbow Hills Welfare Association
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