The definition of ‘transgender’ in South Asia represents people who identify as being gender fluid, moving beyond a ‘binary’ understanding. The 2011 census in India showed close to half a million people who identify as transgender, though the actual number is much higher. Recent new laws introduced by the Government of India (such as the Transgender Persons Act 2019) have been strongly opposed by the transgender community. The law does not consider fundamental rights, such as access to housing, social protection, separate washrooms, hospital or prison wards, and specific protections from custodial and other forms of violence. Along with existing colonial laws, patriarchal and religious belief systems, and a lack of state support, the transgender community continue to face serious and often violent backlash.

Purpose of research

The research aims to support transgender people to precisely identify the backlash, and enable them to evolve new framings that will be effective in negotiating and countering this backlash. The action will involve a Community Crisis Response and Support Cell (CCRSC) which provides a telephone helpline for members of the transgender community, as well as providing a physical ‘safe space’ for counselling or mediation exercises.

About this seed-grant