A queer friendly online searchable database ‘VARTA’ on sexual health, mental health and legal aid service has been officially launched on Sunday with an aim to assist the transgender community across the Northeast India along with the rest part of the country.
The announcement has come after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the British era law – Indian Penal Code (IPC) that ‘violated constitutional right to equality and dignity’ as a five-judge constitution bench of the apex court stated.
The project has already been started in Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya of the Northeast India as well as in other 13 States of the country.
Expressing concern over no response in other northeastern States, founder trustee of VARTA, Pawan Dhall informed that Manipur was the first State in the Northeast zone to respond to the project.
“We haven’t received any response from Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Sikkim till date,” Dhall said.
As many as 20 people from the field of medical and law in Assam have joined the project as ‘service provider’ to assist the transgender community in solving various problems.
Besides, six people have joined the project in Meghalaya while three in Manipur.
Talking about the less number of service provider in Meghalaya and Manipur, Dhall said, “Though it is a matter of concern, we are putting all effort.”
Dhall also said, “It is an optimistic move to assist the transgender community across the country as this community has been facing a challenge in the society to live a life with full freedom. They have a fear to be neglected or insulted while accessing various legal or medical or mental services in the society.”
Dhall informed that personal information of any transgender person would be kept confidential.
Kolkata-based social organisation VARTA – Gender, Sexuality, Intimacy, Publishing; Chennai-based social organisation SAATHII that works in strengthening HIV prevention and treatment and Los Angeles-based organisation Grindr have jointly developed the idea to assist the transgender community in India.