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Indian Carmelite nuns offer sanctuary to trans people

Transgender employees from the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd failed to find rented accommodation in Kerala

Published: June 30, 2017 04:37 AM GMT

Updated: June 30, 2017 04:40 AM GMT

Indian Carmelite nuns offer sanctuary to trans people

Indian transgender activists take part in a protest against discrimination in Hyderabad in this file photo. Carmelite nuns in Kerala, southern India, will offer hostel facilities for transgender people working on a Kochi mass railway project. (Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP) 

Nuns from the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel in the southern Indian state of Kerala are to provide hostel facilities to transgender people who could not get accommodation in Kochi city where they began working recently for a newly opened rail project.

The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd that began to operate the city’s new mass rapid rail transport system June 17 has hired 23 transgender women as part of a Kerala state government initiative to bring this group of socially discriminated people into the mainstream, a local news report said.

However, the transgender employees failed to find rented accommodation in Kochi as society looks down upon them.

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Carmelite Sister Pavithra said her congregation has decided to offer shelter to transgender people employed by the rail project at the request of project managers.

Sister Pavithra, who has worked in Maharashtra, western India, for over 25 years, said her congregation manages an association for transgender people in Maharashtra.

"They also have equal rights to live as human beings. But society does not understand them," the nun said. If society were to help such people "they'll come into the mainstream," she said.

In January, her congregation agreed to set up a special school for transgender people. However, that school did not materialize but the same space will be offered as a hostel for transgender people at a nominal fee, she said.

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