KOCHI/NEW DELHI: LGBT campaigners urged India’s state governments on Monday to “learn a lesson” from Kerala after authorities in the wealthy southern state said they would cover the cost of gender reassignment surgeries.
Kerala’s chief minister said his government would pay 200,000 rupees ($3,000) to allow people to have the procedure, the second Indian state to do so after Tamil Nadu.
“If more money is required, it will be made available,” Jaffar Malik, director of the state’s social justice department, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Monday.
Kerala has assigned three hospitals for gender reassignment surgery and said it would also pay for people to have the procedure outside the state and reimburse those who had already done so. A 2015 government survey found there were about 25,000 transgender people in Kerala and more than 80 per cent wished to undergo the surgery but needed financial help.
Kerala, one of the most transgender-friendly states in India, has put in place measures to improve access to education and jobs. Last month, it announced it would reserve places in higher education for transgender students.—Thomson Reuters Foundation