IntroductionLet me start this paper on sexual minorities with a personal experience, sexual minorities whom we recognise as Hijras, Chakkas etc, in local languages, are totally excluded from the society. When I visited an NGO which works with sexual minority group, I felt their life is under critical condition, and I realised that, they are in need of help. Compared to the cis gender (cis-gender / heterosexuals – denoting to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex) people, sexual minorities are subjected to atrocities and experience various forms of ill treatment, inequality in family, neighbourhood, community and society at large.
They are unable to lead a dignified social life due to the differential perception of them by the members of the society. Sexual minorities are treated inhumanly, unequally even though the Indian constitution assures (article 15) that, ‘equality before law irrespective of their caste, religion, place of residence, gender and sexuality’.This study has been conducted with the following objectives:1. To understand the Demographic profile of the respondents.2. To know the Poverty and Income Inequality faced by the Sexual Minorities in their day to day life MethodologyDescriptive Research design has been used in this study.
The major goal of descriptive research is to describe events, phenomena and situations (Ahuja, 2003). The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. For this study Purposive sampling technique has been used, with help of an NGO, 27 Sexual Minorities are interviewed with help of Self-structured interview schedule, data is analysed by using SPSS, This study is based on both primary and secondary data. Who are sexual minorities? Sexual Minorities are a group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of the surrounding society, usually Sexual Minorities comprise of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals. (PUCL 2001) Sexual minorities or Sexual minority community: Refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual persons as well as persons with other identities (such as Kothis and Hijras) as a minority group in a predominantly heterosexual total population.
LGBT: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender; an inclusive term for groups and identities sometimes also grouped as “sexual minorities.”Lesbian: A person who identifies as woman and has significant (to oneself) sexual or romantic attractions towards another woman, or who identifies as a member of the lesbian community. In India, this term is used to indicate bisexual women also.Gay: A gay person is one who has significant (to oneself) sexual or romantic attractions primarily to members of the same gender or sex, or who identifies as a member of the gay community.
One may identify as gay without identifying as a member of the gay community and vice versa. Though ‘gay’ is a common term for all homosexual persons, it is often used to describe people who identify as men who are attracted to other people who identify as men. Self-identified gay men do not necessarily have sex only with men, but occasionally may engage in sex with women.Bisexual: A person who is attracted romantically/emotionally/sexually to both men and women.Transgender (TG): It is a broad term for all people who do not identify with or choose not to conform to the gender roles assigned to them by society based on their biological sex. Transgender are those who transgress the social gender norms of the society they belong to; TG is often used as an umbrella term to mean all the people who defy rigid, binary gender constructions, and who express or present a breaking and/or blurring of culturally prevalent/stereotypical gender roles.
This includes a wide range of identities and experiences, including but not limited to: pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexual people; male and female cross dressers (sometimes referred to as “transvestites”, “drag queens”, or “drag kings”); intersex individuals; and men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, whose appearance or characteristics are perceived to be gender atypical. (A male-to-female transgendered person is referred to as ‘transgender woman’ and a female-to-male transgendered person is referred to as ‘transgender man’) (CHLET 2012) Poverty and income inequality.In India, both income-based poverty definition and consumption-based poverty statistics are in use. India’s current official poverty rates are based on its Planning Commission’s data derived from the Suresh Tendulkar’s methodology, it defines poverty not in terms of annual income, but in terms of consumption or spending per individual over a certain period for a basket of essential goods. Further, this methodology sets different poverty lines for rural and urban areas.
Since 2007, India set its official threshold at ? 26 a day ($0.43) in rural areas and about ? 32 per day ($0.53) in urban areas.
In every society, some people have a greater share of valued resources money, property, education, health, and power than others. These social resources can be divided into three forms of capitals, economic capital in the form of material assets and income, cultural capital such as educational qualifications and status, and social capital in the form of networks of contacts and social associations (Bourdieu 1986).In India, however, the sexual minority community continues to lack legal recognition as they are treated as non-citizens, this prevents them from availing many of the social and economic benefits under various schemes; this would result in adverse on their life, making them economically weak, socially poor. Sexual minority persons are living in unimaginable conditions; their Poverty and Income inequality rate is more when compared with the cis gender people. In this study few Tables are discussed here below, which clearly shows the Poverty, and Income inequality they faced in their day to day life. Results and Discussion: Table: 01 Marital Status of the respondents Frequency Percent Single, that is never married 26 96.
3 Married and living with partner 1 3.7 Separated 0 0 Widow/Widower 0 0 Divorced 0 0 Deserted 0 0 Total 27 100.0 It is clear that, among the total respondents, majority of the respondents are single, that is never married (96.3%) only one respondent is married (3.7%) Most of the Sexual minorities remain unmarried due to their sexual identity, when we asked, how do you feel by being alone in life? They replied, “Sometimes we think of committing suicide, they feel that, they are excluded from society.
This makes them socially poor. Table: 02 Income (per month) Frequency Percent Less than 5000 18 66.7 5001-10000 3 11.
1 10001-15000 5 18.5 15001-20000 1 3.7 Total 27 100.0 Table shows the income level (Per month) of the respondents large number of respondents earn less than 5000 rupees per month, followed by the range of 10001 to 15000 (18.5), followed by the range of 5001 to 10000 (11.1%) only 3.7% are earning in the range of 15001 to 20000 rupees per month. Sexual minorities are economically very poor, they won’t get the desired job, most of them are involved in begging, commercial sexual work, etc, table 02 shows that more number of respondents earn less than 5000 rupees per month, it shows that, they are economically very poor.
Table: 03 Educational Backgrounds Frequency Percent illiterate 1 3.7 Primary 1 to 7 std 13 48.1 High School 8 to 10 std 9 33.3 PUC/Diploma 3 11.
1 Graduate & Above 1 3.7 Total 27 100.0 From the table it is clear that, large number of respondents are studied up to primary level 1st to 7th std (48.1%) followed by High school level (33.3%), very few persons studied up to PUC/Diploma level (11.1%), and only one (3.
7%) respondent studied up to graduate level, similarly one (3.7%) respondent is illiterate. Sexual minorities generally get little or no schooling, Education Status of the Sexual minorities is very poor; most of them are studied up to Primary and High school level. Graduation percent is very low, which indicates they lack education facilities. This would result to live them in Poverty, and a very low rate of consumption. Table: 04 Dropouts from the Education Frequency Percent Yes 23 85.2 No 4 14.8 Total 27 100.
0 Respondents were asked Dropout from the education? A very large number of respondents (85.2%) are dropout students; very few respondents continued their studies up to higher level. Sexual minorities were asked whether they dropout from their education? As expected more number of respondents replied yes, we are dropout from the education. Lack of education, leads to the poverty. Table: 05 Occupation Frequency Percent Unemployed 23 85.2 Govt. employee 0 0 Pvt. employee 0 0 Self employed 4 14.
8 Total 27 100.0 It is clear that, more number of respondents are Unemployed (85.2%) followed by Self employed (14.8%) Most of the sexual minorities are unemployed, it is because of No or Low education, most commonly they are seen begging in roads, shops which is their main profession, some people are also involved in sex work, by which they get their livelihood. Table: 06 Type of Accommodation Frequency Percent Kuccha House 10 37.0 Semi Pucca House 17 63.
0 Total 27 100.0 More number of respondents live in Semi Pucca house (63.0%) followed by Kuccha House (37.
0%)Sexual minorities are dissatisfied with their living environment; most of them are living in semi Pucca house, followed by Kaccha house. Table: 07 are you satisfied with education you received so far? Frequency Percent Very Satisfied 1 3.7 Satisfied 2 7.4 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 2 7.
4 Dissatisfied 14 51.9 Very dissatisfied 8 29.6 Total 27 100.0 It is clear that, large numbers of respondents (51.
9%) are dissatisfied with the education they received so far. And some respondents (29.6%) are responded, they are very much dissatisfied, 7.4% respondents are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, similar number of respondents (7.
4%) are satisfied, and very less number 3.7% respondents replied as Very satisfied.Sexual minorities were asked to rate satisfaction level with the education they received so far, majority of the respondents are dissatisfied with their education attainment, its because either they have No or Low education or education up to high school level.
Table: 08 Is your income enough to take care of your daily needs? Frequency Percent Yes 0 0 No 27 100.0 Total 27 100.0 From the table, all the Respondents (100%) replied ‘No’ to the question is your income enough to take care of your daily needsSexual minorities were asked is your income enough to take care of your daily needs? All the respondents replied No, it’s because they don’t have proper job to do, hence their income level is also very low. Table: 09 Do you have Bank account? Frequency Percent Yes 12 44.4 No 15 55.
6 Total 27 100.0 It is clear that, more number of respondents (55.6%) are don’t having the saving account in the Banks, and 44.4% of the respondents are having the saving account in the banks. Most number of respondents does not have a bank account on their names; I asked them why you people not have a bank account? They simply replied, our income is very low, we can’t even fulfil our basic needs, and then how can we save the money? Summary and Conclusion:Sexual Minorities in India commonly known as the Hijras are marginalized group in the society.
As discussed in the paper, Poverty and Income inequality are the part and parcel of their life. Most of the sexual minorities are economically poor, living below the poverty line, and their income level is unimaginably low. Many of the sexual minorities remain unmarried in their life and one of the reasons for this is, lack of economic support, large number of Sexual Minorities belongs to the middle class and the lower class families. Sexual minorities generally get little or no schooling, their families often reject them, and they join marginalized and feudal communities where their employment options are sex work or ritualized begging.Begging is not only an occupation but also a tradition to them, they involve in naming ceremony of new born baby, marriage function to bless them, and their second occupation is Sex work or Commercial Sex, They are dissatisfied with their education attainment Most number of respondents does not have a bank account on their names, Majority of hijras stated that they faced several problems due to the poverty and low income.