Transgender rights in Tamil Nadu
Transgender people are called hijdas in India and are often discriminated against in jobs forcing them to resort to begging and prostitution. They meet in Koovagam, a village in the Ulundurpet taluk in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April/May) for an annual festival which takes place for fifteen days.
Tamil Nadu has an estimated population of 30,000 transgender people. It has made great strides in trying to integrate transgender people into society. This includes welfare schemes initiated by the Government and acceptance of transgender people into the mainstream media and film industry.
In a pioneering effort to solve the problems faced by transgender people, the government of Tamil Nadu (a state in South India) established a transgender welfare board in April 2008. Social welfare minister will serve as the president of the board. This effort is touted to be the first in India and even in the world. The government has also started issuing separate food ration cards for transgender people.
The Government has also decided to conduct a census on the transgender population in order to issue identity cards.
In a monumental push in breaking taboos, the Tamil cable channel Vijay TV started a talk show hosted by a trans woman called Rose. The programme is called "Ippadikku Rose", translated into Yours Truly, Rose.
Karpaga, a transgender person born in Erode, Tamil Nadu performs a lead role in a new Tamil movie "Paal", thus becoming the first in India ever to achieve such a milestone. Kalki Subramaniam, a transgender person born in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu performs a lead role in a new Tamil movie "Narthagi".
A telephone helpline called "Manasu" ("Heart" in English) (0091-44-25990505) was set up by Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative-Voluntary Health Services (TAI-VHS) for members of the transgender community, their families and the public. It functions between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and was launched by V. K. Subburaj, Principal Secretary of Health Department of Tamil Nadu. Subburaj launched the services in March 2009 and said it will be helpful in finding employment for transgender people.
Sahodari Foundation is an organization working for the transgender rights. Founded by activist and actress Kalki Subramaniam in 2007, Sahodari Foundation is a well known organization in India for its creative and alternative advocacy methods.
- "Chennai: Move on toilets for transgenders sparks off debate". Express India. 23 June 2009.
- Welfare board
- Admission to colleges, The Hindu, 5 May 2008
- census and ID card
- Rose in a Tamil talk show
- Transgender to play lead in Tamil film
- "Helpline for transgenders launched". The Hindu. 14 March 2009.