26-year-old Kiran starts a new life in Bangalore after fleeing discrimination in her village in Andhra Pradesh.
Kiran, who is a tribal, a female-to-male transgender, and is physically challenged, hasn't had an easy life. He had to flee his village after marrying a girl. After the marriage, the couple faced severe harassment from their respective families, and they had to run away to Bangalore, where anonymity would provide them with safety.
During this period, Kiran received crucial support from Sangama Crisis Team. Sangama is a NGO fighting human rights violations against sexual minorities in Bangalore and other places in South India. Among other services, Sangama launched a 24 h helpline, run by staff and community members, to support sexual minorities in distress (http://sangama.org/ - 99 45 60 16 51/52). Sangama supported and oriented Kiran when he was going through terrible ordeals in his village in Andhra. Thanks to the NGO Kiran was able to leave his village and settle in Banagalore. Christy Raj, our Community Correspondent in Bangalore, is himself a female-to-male transgender and has been associated with Sangama for several years. He met Kiran in one of the community groups he is involved with. Touched by what Kiran endured, he decided to tell his story on video.
Despite the recent repealing of article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalized homosexual relations, there is still a long way to go for sexual minorities to be fully accepted and respected in India. Today, all sexual minorities are still facing repeated abuse and violence from police, family, in public spaces and work places. Kiran’s life story is a moving example of the hardships transgenders undergo. It also illustrates the courageous work undertaken by numerous human rights organizations to support sexual minorities, and shows how people can start a new life and find space to lead their lives in accordance to their identity and sexual orientation.
Kiran is now living with his wife in Bangalore. He has recently been awarded a two-years fellowship from Aneka, to work for the rights of sexual minorities and disabled women in Chikaballapur district, near Bangalore.“Kiran is a role model for the community. He was able to start a new life despite what he had to to go through. And he is now giving back to the community, since he is a wholehearted committed activist,” said Christy Raj, who wants to screen this inspiring video to his community.
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