National consultations in Delhi and Mumbai on health and development concerns of sexual minorities in 2008 and 2009 revealed serious gaps in the understanding of issues related to male-to-female transgender (TG) populations. Apart from concern that the government and civil society response to the HIV epidemic often overlooks fundamental developmental needs of transgender people, there was considerable debate on how MSM and transgender issues get conflated to the detriment of both populations. This lead to several transgender support groups and leaders from across India to plan focused consultations on what it means to be transgendered, the 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 carried out. SAATHII was entrusted the task of organizing the Eastern India consultation in Kolkata 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, Odisha, West Bengal, and other states in the region. The consultation report can be seen here.
Please click here to see the report of an associated meeting titled “Making the Invisible Visible: Adding New Dimensions to the Transgender Rights Movement in India,” Kolkata, June 25, 2009.
This project received financial support from the United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi.