Development of Transgender (Hijra/ Aravani) Rights in Tamil Nadu, India


The Tamil Nadu state in India was the first state to introduce a transgender (hijra/ aravani) welfare. According to the transgender welfare policy transgender people can access free Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in the Government Hospital (only for MTF); free housing program; various citizenship documents; admission in government colleges with full scholarship for higher studies; alternative sources of livelihood through formation of self-help groups (for savings) and initiating income-generation programmes (IGP). Tamil Nadu was also the first state to form a Transgender Welfare Board with representatives from the transgender community. This will be an interactive session with the participants to understand how similar initiatives can be initiated for transgender development. We will also discuss success stories from other countries and take back the learning for further research and advocacy work. The session also aims to understand the challenges faced at the grassroots level and at the policy level for transgender development and strategies to overcome these challenges.

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Presenter 1 Information
Shabeena Francis Saveri
Shabeena Francis Saveri is a Research Scholar from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Her research topic is “Transgender (hijra/ aravani) movement in Tamil Nadu, India”. She has worked in the areas of transgender health and transgender rights since 1998 and at present on transgender studies through her Ph.D research. She is a student member in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), U.S; one of the founding board members of Transgender Rights Association (TRA), Chennai, India; member in Sampoorna, India (a networking group of transgender from across India, living in and outside of India); one of the Advisory Board members for the TVT Project of Transgender Europe (TGEU). She has also been instrumental in formation of various transgender organizations. She has participated and facilitated various transgender (LGBT) consultations in India and have had participated in various national and international conferences on transgender, queer and human rights and have presented her research work. Overall she brings together a blend of grassroots level activism and theoretical understanding of transgender issues from an Indian context. Apart from these she has worked on issues such as HIV/ AIDS, health, Human Rights and tobacco with mainstream NGOs and Non-profit organizations.
2015 Conference
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