TG Community Event 2021
In February 2021, Blossom Trust hosted a community event for the Transgender (TG) community at Chengalpattu hospital. This event is an opportunity for the community to come together and discuss the challenges that TG communities continue to face and also celebrate the accomplishments over the past year as well.
In partnership with Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), this community event is a chance for TG women, our Peer Educators, friends and family to gather and discuss the community’s needs in this current moment especially addressing the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19.
Alongside the TG community, we also had some representatives from the government sector present. As per the supreme court order on COVID-19 support TG communities are eligible for ration distributions. However, due to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights), Bill passed in 2019 and the legal recognition of TGs as the ‘Third Gender’ TGS would only be given the rations if they were identified and had undergone the official government process. For many, they don’t have the legal documentation nor the officiated TG card.
A district supply officer was present during this meeting and centralising the TGs helped the officer to arrange for ration cards from the public distribution system so that TGs and their families would receive dry rations. This was an important step of discussion as it gave recognition to government representatives of the barriers TGs face in accessing public services.
Additionally, another important aspect of hosting these community events is a chance to also raise awareness to the medical professionals that provide STI/HIV testing and medical support to the project of the continuing stigma of HIV that prevents TG individuals from accessing testing and complying with the treatment procedure as a result of fear of further discrimination. So far, 250 TGs tested for HIV/STI and completed follow up on testing.
At the moment, a big focus is increasing awareness for testing of high-risk groups (HRGs) within the TG community. As COVID-19 caused a lot of instability particularly those who work in the unorganised sector for communities such as the TGs this could result in a lack of food security, financial income and increase their risk of health complications. At the meeting, 141 new HRGs were identified and after the event a further 51 of the new HRGs got tested for HIV/STIs on that day.
Our TG Targeted Intervention Project will continue to work with the 7 TG Peer Educators to offer support to the surrounding TG community to combat the discrimination and marginalisation TG women face in society. Throughout this year particularly during COVID-19, our TG Peer Educators have played a massive role in ensuring the needs of their communities are met and we are grateful for our partnership
with NACO and other medical professionals
who support the project.
The TG Community Event 2021 was a great success, given the impact of the ongoing pandemic we are thankful to all the individuals that made this event possible, particularly to the hospital and staff for hosting us and pay respects to the TG community leaders and Peer Educators for bringing the community together.