Speaking up for the rights of young transgender and hijra community members

Pehchan is organising National Hijra Habba tomorrow which serves to provide a platform for community members and supporters to raise awareness and promote equality for the transgender and hijra community in India. In keeping with the aim of this important event, it was exciting to read that, yesterday, Shri Ajay Maken, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, released the draft version of the National Youth Policy 2012 . It is heartening to know that this draft acknowledges the issues of young lesbians, gays and transgender individuals, who have been mentioned in the draft as one of the focus target groups. This news was also covered by national papers such as the Times of India.

Excerpts from the draft follow:

6.1.8 Groups that suffer from social or moral stigma – transgender, gays and lesbians, those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB)

a) Transgenders have for long been the butt of ridicule and derision of the society. They have virtually lived a life of complete segregation from the mainstream.

b) The gays and the lesbians have never been accepted in the society as same gender sex has always been treated in our society as perverted and immoral behaviour. The result of these deeply embedded stereotypes and biases has been that gays and lesbians are reluctant to express their sexual preferences openly….

c) There is also lack of acceptance of the young people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and TB. They face isolation though for different reasons. People are disinclined to socially interact with HIV+ people because of general misconceptions like the disease can be contracted even through casual physical contacts. They face social rejections which has a negative implication on pursuit for education, employment etc. All of these groups can be provided a helping hand so that they are in touch with the ART treatment centers and the DOT awareness programmes where free counseling and medication is provided to them…..

The Draft NYP 2012 is available on the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports’ website. It shall be open for comments and suggestions till 31st July, 2012. Your feedback on the draft can be mailed to gnair64@gmail.com  or  rajive.sabharwal@nic.in. The complete draft report can also be accessed here.

The timing of the release of this report is perfect since one of the topics of discussion at the Hijra Habba consists of the issues experienced by young hijras and transgenders. We invite you to be a part of this significant event where the voices of young lesbian, gay and transgender community members will be articulated and heard, to ensure that we continue to work towards creating a world for them which is based on equality and acceptance.

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Hijra Habba Details
Saturday, June 2nd
10am-7pm
Vishwa Yuva Kendra, Chankyapuri, Delhi

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The author of this post, Yadavendra Singh, is Senior Programme Officer: Capacity Building for Alliance India’s Pehchan Programme.  

With support from the Global FundPehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan will address some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, SAATHII, Sangama, and SIAAP and will reach 453,750 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.

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