Improving the lives of LGBT-IQ Community:
"We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity." - George Takei
LGBT activists in India made a historic win last year when the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised Section 377 of India’s penal code, which earlier criminalised same-sex relations. Justice Indu Malhotra pointedly stated that “an apology [is owed] to members of the LGBT community… for the ostracisation and persecution they faced because of society’s ignorance”.
But, the battle is not over yet. There is a huge stigma and prejudice within the society that needs to be uprooted for the well-being of the LGBTIQ community.
ICWO takes pride in associating themselves with programs that aim at destigmatizing homosexuality and gender preferences.
Issues of Lesbian Group:
ICWO was seeking to address the issues which lesbian face within Chennai as patriarchal systems and moralistic attitudes towards lesbians within the city continue to prevent many from coming out. Such discriminatory and oppressive views can cause a variety of psychological and emotional issues for these concerned women.
Lesbian Helpline Initiative
We began to address these issues in 2009 by initiating Chennai’s first lesbian helpline as a response after two married women committed suicide in North Chennai in May 2008, due to their relationship being prohibited.
ICWO estimates that there are many women within the city who are in a dilemma about accepting their sexual orientation, are fearful of others finding out about it, maybe experiencing isolation or are facing harassment or discrimination for having spoken out about it.
Support Group for Lesbians:
ICWO has engaged in creating a peer-led women’s LGBTIQ support group, for those who identify as women who are interested in another woman. The aim of the group is to create a safe social space where Lesbian can share their experiences and talk openly about their sexuality. ICWO is not only committed to raising awareness about LGBTQ women’s issues but also committed to addressing the issues identified by supporting the peer-led support group which will meet periodically once every two months while supporting the Lesbian Helpline Initiative.
We plan to resort to this three-fold approach to improve the services:
Step 01: Engage in explorative research into the experiences of lesbians within Chennai
Step 02: Set up a panel of support including counsellors, lawyers and LGBT activists
Step 03: Plan to hold workshops to identify the specific needs of this population.
Consultation Meet for Law Enforcement Agency & Transgender
ICWO and THAA organized this meet in order to create a mutual understating between law enforcement agency and Transgender in August 2014.
The program was inaugurated by Mr Johnson inspector of police CMDA Koyambedu Mofusal bus station police station and other dignitaries are MS. Kruba-THAA Secretary, Mr.A.J. Hariharan, Secretary, ICWO, Mr.Nallappa-Friend of Police. Representatives from Various NGO and CBO participated in the consultation.
Objectives of this Consultation Meet:
To identify the challenges in promoting law and order in Koyambedu market place.
To identify factors that create a bad influence of the transgender community and develop strategies to overcome.
To explore strategies and strengthen the partnership between the law enforcement agency and the transgender community.
Exploring possibilities of providing basic assistance for the transgenders through field activities, night shelter, legal aid services and educational institution with boarding facilities.
Resultant Recommendations that came from the Consultation meet:
1. Police should develop a positive attitude towards the transgender community. Assignment of a Friend of police from the transgender community
2. A Transgender representative should be present while investigating a Transgender in the police station. Organizing a Legal aid training program for the Transgender community.
3. Referral service for medical assistance, counselling, short-stay home, boarding school, educational institution and legal aid support need to be provided from the help desk in Koyambedu market place.
Miss. India Contest for Transgender, 2009
To boost the morale of the community and to bring them into the limelight, ICOW with the support of TANSACS, UNAIDS & ACTIONAID organized Miss India Contest for the Transgender Community in Chennai.
Objectives of Miss. India Contest for Transgender 2009:
To create an opportunity for the Transgender Community to showcase their talent and skills. To create a platform to address the issues related to transgender.
To address the stigma, discrimination, marginalization and misconception related to the Transgender community through the event with the support of Media Exposure and disseminate positive messages regarding transgender.
Disseminate information on STI/HIV/AIDS information among Transgender. Disseminate information regarding the vulnerability and risk of HIV infection among the Transgender community.
Outcome of the Contest:
A platform was created for Transgender to showcase their skills and talents
Awareness was created with regards to the attitudes of people with gender-atypical appearance or behaviour.
Assumptions about transgender people’s sexual orientation, desire for surgical or hormonal treatment, or other aspects of their identity or transition plans awareness would be created.
Destigmatizing the age-old beliefs surrounding the transgender community