LGBT History month kicked off with Yashwant Kurapati, project co-coordinator of our Snehjyot TI 2 project, and Disha Pinky Shaikh, a representative of our transgender (TG) community in Shrirampur, invited to attend a national workshop on developmental challenges of transgender people in rural areas. Hosted by the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayatiraj in Hyderabad, it was attended by representatives from all over India.
The workshop included the screening of Piyush Saxena’s film, ‘Neha kabhi bik nahi payi’ and copies of his book on the lives of TG community was distributed. Atharva Sriniwasan, a socialist working for the TG community opened a discussion about life and difficulties in the life of TG. Police Officer Rema Rajeshwari talked about legal problems and other atrocities inflicted upon them and the behavior of police and society towards them, answering many questions on the subject. Dr Sunil Kalda explained about surgical and medical interventions, the health hazards and side effects of breast developments and other secondary sexual characters and the legal aspects of changing sex and identity. This was complemented by a TG sharing her own personal experience and the problems she faced and the difficulties the TG community faces from legal agencies in regards to rights and duties. Social activist, Gouri Sawant discussed the expectations on the transgender community from society and their families.
The concluding session was an open discussion which revealed the current scenario of the community across states and the challenges faced by them. Information about various NGO’s working with the LGBT community and its outcome was also discussed. This was followed by a field visit to the National Institute of Rural Development’s vocational training center and further information about self-help groups.