Blossom Trust hosted a Community Event for the transgender community around Chengalpattu. This event marked the launch of the TG Network, and was an opportunity for the community to gather together and celebrate.
On 19th of February, Blossom Trust hosted the Transgender (TG) Community Event 2020. Transgender women, our Peer Advocates and friends and family from across several districts of Chengalpattu came together in Madurantakam hospital to participate in jovial dancing, singing, games and have lunch. It was a great event to allow the wider community to socialise as a diverse and integrated group.
The event was hosted by Blossom Trust. In partnership with Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TNSACS) and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the Blossom team run the TG Targeted Intervention Project in the Kanchipuram and Chengalpattu district. Transgender women in Tamil Nadu face continuing discrimination and marginalisation in Indian society. Skilled TG individuals cannot find legitimate work without harassment, and so they are confined to the unorganised sector. This work involves street collections, street performance such as dance and singing, and sex work. This leaves them vulnerable to targeted violence and a high risk group for contracting and transmitting HIV/AIDs.
The stigma of HIV often prevents the TG individuals from accessing testing, and prevents compliance with treatment in HIV+ individuals for fear of further discrimination. The Targeted Intervention project works with 7 TG Peer Educators to offer counselling, outreach work and HIV/AIDS testing and advice to the surrounding TG community. They also offer STI tests and sexual health education, including distributing condoms for protection against STIs.
This event was a chance for the community and for the project coordinators to come together, to give recognition to the medical professionals that provide the STI/HIV testing and medical support to the project, and to pay respect to the community leaders and Peer Educators that galvanise the TG community and make the project possible.
The event also marked the launch of the TG Network and the expansion to sub-national and national representation. This is to advocate for TG rights and move towards improved societal integration. This project will continue with the support of TNSACS, and in the near future we aim to provide vocational skills training to improve reintegration, to provide a safe house in Chennai, and offer legal support for official recognition of identity in the wake of the controversial Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill passed in 2019.
The TG Community Event 2020 was a success, and we are thankful to all the individuals that made this event possible; particularly to the hospital and staff for hosting us, and to the TG community leaders and Peer Educators for bringing the community together.
Event date: February 2020