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TRANScend: Addressing Gender-Based Violence and enhancing the Social Inclusion and Acceptance of Trans Persons in India

Social inclusivity and acceptance of transgender communities in India through capacity building of transgender groups and awareness drives.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The transgender communities across globe have been struggling for basic human rights, inclusion and acceptance. In India, they have been living on the fringes of its social and economic life. One of the biggest reasons behind this social and economic exclusion is rigidity of gender binaries and lack of awareness about how these binaries and stereotypes disproportionately impact the transgender communities.
This project idea aims to improve the inclusivity and acceptance of transpersons, within a multitude of private and public institutions like health-care providers, corporates, educational institutions, and bureaucratic offices, through a two-pronged approach. On one hand, it aims to conduct awareness and sensitisation programmes in these institutions to bring about concrete policy changes for inclusion. On the other hand, it also aims to build the capacities of the transgender community itself to drive this initiative and scale it up.
In the pilot phase of the project, modules were developed to conduct awareness and sensitisation programmes with corporates and educational institutions and included suggested policies responding to the needs of trans communities in India. Community narratives formed the core of these modules ensuring that concepts of gender and sexuality are tied up with personal journeys of trans persons. Simultaneously, needs of the community and community-based organisations were assessed so that their capacities can be accordingly developed to take this initiative forward in a sustainable manner.
Results from the pilot phase were extremely promising with initial sensitisations conducted with 37 corporates and educational institutes in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and 63 trans persons attending capacity building workshops.
The proposed idea aims to scale this initiative so that concrete policy changes are brought about in the aforementioned institutions through sustained awareness workshops conducted and driven by the community.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The final beneficiaries of this project are the transgender communities in India including hijras, a trans-feminine socio-religious group, distinctive of South Asia, transwomen who do not belong to the hijra community, transmen and other non-binary and gender-non-conforming identities.
The idea will enable society at large understand these identities better and eventually develop rational attitudes towards them through increased knowledge and awareness about their challenges. It will also bring about policy changes that are crucial for redressal of persistent stigma and discrimination towards trans communities.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

In India, there has been an ostensible rise in initiatives aimed at inclusion of trans persons. However, these efforts have been sporadic, unsystematic and often not inclusive of a wider spectrum of gender identities.
The proposed idea is unique because a) it is based on a first of its kind situational analysis and socio-economic needs assessment of the trans communities in India b) the ground work for implementation of the idea is ready in the form of initial modules on sensitisation and capacity building of the community c) it includes a wide spectrum of identities and explores convergence of trans issues with the broader question of gender which is crucial to create a large scale gender revolution.
Our organisation has a distinct advantage of implementing this idea because it has been working on LGBTQ inclusion and rights for the past 25 years and being a community-based organisation has a rich archive of experience and insights into the community.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

The Humsafar Trust (HST) is a community-based organisation working since 1994 in India with a commitment to a holistic approach to the rights and health of sexual minorities and promoting rational attitudes towards sexuality. HST has mentored 51 CBOs in 5 states and provides technical support to 27 States in India on various aspects of health and human rights. HST was documented as Best Practices Model by UNICEF in 2003. For more information visit www.humsafar.org

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In 2014, NALSA judgment, delivered by the Supreme Court of India, gave an unprecedented level of legal support and recognition to transgender communities. However, there have been persistent gaps in the provision of those rights and protections to Trans persons at the ground level. Need to address these gaps and streamline the efforts of the community in the wake of these developments in legal and policy landscape of India gave impetus to this idea.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Gender is one of the most deep-rooted marker for inequality. The very fact that until recently gender equality has been understood solely in terms of women's equality further reinforces this inequality stemming from rigid binaries. Although, these binaries impact the trans communities most severely, no one remains unaffected by them. This project not only aims to disrupt this binaried view of gender, it also aims to demonstrate commonalities between the challenges faced by the trans communities and the larger society. We envision that this idea will lead to a lasting social cohesion and not only bring prosperity to marginalised transgender communities but also create new discourses of peace and equality.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We will be partnering with transgender community-based organisations (CBOs) present in 18 states of India, who are members of the Integrated Network for Sexual Minorities (INFOSEM) a collective of over 120 LGBTQ CBOs. The Humsafar Trust (HST) has played a pivotal role in the initiation and formation of INFOSEM and is the convener member.
We will build the capacities of these organisations so that they can carry forward this initiative in their respective geographies sustainably.
We will also be working with various public and private sector actors to expand the reach of this project across the states of India to create a large scale impact. Apart from educational institutes and corporates, where we have existing modules from our pilot, we will be developing capacity of public and private health care providers for delivering quality Trans health across the country. We will be adapting from International best practices and develop India specific modules for health care providers.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The trans communities, especially the hijra community, have very close-knit social structures and support systems making community mobilisation and capacity building easier. Another strength the community has built over the years is to constantly arrive at alternative means of livelihoods in the absence of conventional ones. Extreme adversity and lack of societal acceptance has rendered the transgender communities unprecedented tenacity and will to survive.

Geographic Focus

The project will be focussed at transgender communities and identities in different parts of India.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We envision a 36 month timeline for the completion of the project which will include building capacities of transgender individuals and organisations all over India on conducting sensitisation and awareness programs and offering them technical support to conduct multiple levels of sensitisations with targeted institutions to bring about specific policy changes.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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Photo of Kumail Hassan
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Hello! Shwerambera
A unique and comprehensive idea with a strong emphasis on social inclusion. I have also submitted an idea for socio-economic upliftment of transgenders. https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/review/trans-gender-identity-dignity
Your input will be highly appreciated. I will love to hear from your experiences.

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