We are entering into a time where the human race acknowledges the value of every person. Our mission as FMM SSS throws open opportunities to tread ‘New Paths Leading to New Learning.’ As the saying goes, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’
I am Sr. Sherly Joseph FMM from Mumbai Province, India. I work in our social center, St. Anthony’s Home, FMM Social Service Society, Mumbai. As a community, we are involved with different groups of people in society, including the LGBT community.
The recent pandemic, as much as it was a bane, had its own share of opportunities that pushed us, so to speak, to help the vulnerable and the needy to the best of our ability.
During this time, the transgender individuals from our neighborhood in Kamatipura came to St. Anthony’s Home, Nagpada, Mumbai (our mission station), seeking help. By God’s grace and mercy, we were able to provide them with dry rations through the generosity of our benefactors.
A transgender person is someone whose gender identity or gender expression does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth. Understanding what it means to be transgender can be challenging, especially if you have never interacted with a transgender person before.
At first, our meetings during the distribution of dry rations were on a friendly basis, as we engaged in casual conversations to get to know them. It was an entirely new experience for us, as we had never interacted with this community before. The initial step was to listen to them and gather information from their experiences. We soon discovered that this was a diverse and complex community, with each member having different needs and priorities. There is no universal approach to handling every situation or interacting with every transgender individual. It goes without saying that we must respect their human dignity and strive to assist them to the best of our abilities.
Thus, we embarked on the journey of formation with the hope of transformation. In addition to providing monthly dry rations, we identified certain areas such as skill development and addressing emotions like anger, fear, and sadness. We also initiated the process of obtaining ID cards to enable access to government-provided facilities.
Accordingly, we have succeeded in obtaining a few TG (Transgender) card/TG Certificate from the National Portal of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. The TG Certificate helps transgender individuals establish their identity. Upon issuance of this document, a transgender person is entitled to…
- Change his/her gender and name in all official documents.
- Can avail all the benefits under the central government schemes.
- Shelter Homes for Transgender persons is supported by the Ministry named as ‘Garima Gruh.’
- The Helpline number for Transgender person is 8882133897
- The objective of this helpline is to provide psychological support and mental health care.
We have been able to showcase their talents for song and dance during the Centenary celebration of St. Anthony’s Home, as well as our key functions such as Christmas Celebration and Women’s Day celebration. This inclusion during our significant events not only enhanced their self-worth but also garnered wide appreciation from our guests, Provincial, and all attendees.
A time has come where all possibilities can be explored. One of our challenges is reuniting them with their families, as the painful rejection they have faced from their own loved ones is difficult to forget.
Nonetheless, we hold onto a sense of hope and joy. The current orientation towards this group is encouraging, fostering the integration and empowerment they deserve. Their journey towards a normal life invites me to do my best within my abilities, enlivening their future and exploring the endless possibilities that lie ahead. It is heartening to see that the present world views them as normal individuals.
Although the journey may be long and arduous, with God’s guidance and providence, we remain hopeful that our efforts will bear fruit. Our mission is to help them realign themselves with the divine purpose for which they were created.
This is a time where all possibilities are meant to be explored. I am deeply grateful to God for choosing me as His instrument in this mission of intervention, standing alongside our brothers and sisters in need. I humbly ask for the Lord’s blessings upon all of us as we move forward with courage, striving to be true disciples of Christ.