With an aim to make transgender community self-dependent, a national-level Trans Empowerment Mela will be organised in suburban Borivali in Mumbai allowing over 500 community members to showcase their entrepreneurial ideas.
The Mela, to be held on Tuesday, is being organised by Anam Prem, an NGO, with the objective of making the transgender community self-dependent through dignified modes of income generation
Manisha Parab, a volunteer from the group said,
This mela gives a platform to the hundreds of transgenders across the country and will make everyone aware of their entrepreneurial potential. It would also remove the long-held (negative) societal perceptions about the community.
This is a first-of-its-kind initiative, transgenders from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Kolhapur, Konkan, Amravati and Mumbai will participate in this mela which would offer varied food items, handicraft items, sarees etc.
There would also be performances by India’s first transgender dance group, Dancing Queens, and the country’s first transgender music band ‘Six Pack Band’, among others.
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‘Trans Empowerment Mela 2016’ is a part of Anam Prem’s ‘Joy for All’ initiative which took shape in 2005.
Krupali Bidaye, another senior associate of the group said,
This initiative seeks to reach out to the ‘hijras’, through the concept of ‘Family Meet initiative’ where host families and hijras share their personal spaces, work on breaking barriers of stereotypical perceptions, taboos of stigma and discrimination.
India has an estimated 1.9 million transgender people. Trans women in the country are known as hijras, and are stigmatised and alienated. Hijras find it impossible to get conventional jobs: begging and sex work are the two main ways to make money and this initiative will surely boost many careers in return.
In a landmark judgment in 2014, the Indian supreme court ruled that transgender people had equal rights under the law, and granted legal status to a third gender in addition to male and female.