This issue needs your voice! Share this story.
Video By Community CorrespondentHelping others after he himself was assisted is a natural progression for M. Mani, who is working towards becoming his community’s parliamentary representativ... Connect with Mani Manickem
Contact Mani Manickem
Indian society has a 4000-year history of pushing its male to female transgender community into becoming Hijra. Hijra are males who dress and take on the mannerisms of a woman. They are closely associated with prostitution, begging and are thought of as powerful deities of fertility. Hijra are both repelled and feared by the majority of society. Given the horrific discrimination transgendered people face in India, many individuals see becoming Hijra as the only possible role for them in society.
However, significant strides have been made for transgender rights in Tamil Nadu. In most states, transgendered individuals are not permitted to obtain fundamental rights, such as voter registration or ration cards. This robs them of the ability to have a say in their government and receive basis services.
Tamil Nadu established India’s first transgender social welfare board in 2008. This body was assembled in response to the great discrimination and health dangers faced by Tamil’s transgendered community. Tamil Nadu’s transgender welfare board issued ration cards for transgender individuals. The government issued a state census to identify and provide Tamil transgendered individuals with identity cards. One month after the board was formed, the government issued a third order, guaranteeing transgenders reserved seats in Tamil Nadu’s colleges and universities.
Many believe the transgendered social welfare board is highly ineffective and lacks the forward momentum many people in the transgendered community need to see. In response to this, a coalition of transgender organizations came together to form the Federation of Indian Transgender (FIT). This body was formed to monitor the progress and efficacy of Tamil’s transgender welfare board.
Despite this controversy, Tamil Nadu is struggling to pilot a more accepting space for transgendered individuals in India. For this we must give the state credit. However, transgendered individuals—whether identifying as Hijra or otherwise—face tremendous discrimination across all sectors and all states. We must support them and others in building a more accepting and free India.
by Video VolunteersEach year, approximately 56,000 women in India die in childbirth – a staggering number. This is particularly horrifying because today, no women need die in childbirth. Nearly every single one of these births could have been prevented – had the women received the medical care they are entitled to by law. What [...]
by Anand PagareIndia is home to 190 million of the world’s hungry. A staggering number by any count. To combat this the government has put into place a number of schemes, most importantly the Public Distribution System. Bogged down by corruption and neglect at every level, the scheme often does not reach those it is meant for. [...]
by Video VolunteersThis video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Mangnuram. To read more about this story – click here. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development [...]
- Our AmbassadorsAbhay Deol, Video Volunteers’ Ambassador
- MediaVideoVolunteers Media Footprint