TG and Hijra Issues Consultation
Regional Transgender and Hijra Consultation in Eastern India (2009)
Funded by United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi
Recent national consultations in Delhi and Mumbai on health and development concerns of sexual minorities in India have revealed serious gaps as well as diversity in the understanding of issues related to male-to-female transgender populations. Apart from concerns that the government and civil society response to the HIV epidemic often overlooks fundamental developmental needs of transgender people, there has been considerable debate on how MSM and transgender issues get conflated to the detriment of both populations. No less vigorous has been the debate on the varied ways in which transgender communities identify themselves in India.
This lead to several transgender support groups and leaders from across India to plan focused consultations on what being transgender means, significance of Hijra as a distinct cultural identity, and cross-cutting as well as specific needs of transgender and Hijra communities in the country. Five regional and a national consultation were planned with funding support from the UNDP. SAATHII was entrusted the task of organizing the Eastern India consultation in Calcutta in collaboration with several transgender groups working in and around the city. Around 40 participants attended the meeting on May 29-30, 2009 from Assam, Meghalaya, Orissa, West Bengal and other states in the region. The consultation report can be seen here.