Thiruvananthapuram: Transgenders, who are striving hard to find a place in mainstream society, will soon turn entrepreneurs in Kerala with the launch of a taxi service which will be owned and operated by them.
The initiative will see members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community driving radio cabs as a source of livelihood.
The launch comes close on the heels of a similar initiative in Mumbai with the name ‘Wings Rainbow', India's first LGBT radio cab service.
After unveiling the first Transgender Policy in the country with an aim to end societal stigma towards the Transgender (TG) community, the state government is now getting ready to launch 'Gender Taxi', owned and operated by transgenders.
The objective of 'G-Taxi' programme is to provide a better means for livelihood for the minority group and to ensure them non-discriminatory treatment in society.
The state-run Gender Park, under the Department of Social Justice, has drawn up a programme to roll out G-Taxi on the model of its successful all-women cab network She-Taxi.
If She-Taxi has targetted mainly women commuters, 'G-Taxi' is envisaged as an 'equality taxi', in which all travellers, irrespective of their gender, can avail service.
If everything goes as planned, the first fleet of G-Taxi cabs will be rolled out in the state this March.
State Minister for Social Justice M K Muneer said the G-Taxi is part of the government's first step towards the practical implementation of the TG Policy, unveiled here last November.
"We have unveiled the transgender policy with an aim to improve the life and living conditions of TG community. The G-Taxi is the first major step as part of the implementation of the TG Policy," Muneer told PTI.
Gender Park CEO Dr P T M Sunish said the project is expected to promote entrepreneurship among TGs and provide them a better means for livelihood.
"We are hopeful that the project will help them fetch not only a better income but also a good opportunity to mingle with the mainstream society. People who avail the service of G-taxi can interact with them which will help change their mindset towards TGs," Sunish told PTI.
Sunish said a number of transgenders, on the sidelines of the recent International Gender Conference held here last year, had requested the minister to launch an entrepreneurial programme for them on the model of She-Taxi.
They had also requested to entrust it with the Gender Park as it has successfully implemented the She-Taxi network, envisaged for the empowerment of women.
Like the She-Taxi, G-Taxi cabs will also have advanced security features, including GPS.
This model has aready been implemented in Mumbai. With the name ‘Wings Rainbow',it become India's first and only LGBT radio cab service to start in Mumbai.
The initiative has been flagged off by the Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust and is expected to start functioning from 2017.