ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Transgenders and the Mainstream

The transgender community in Tamil Nadu is gradually finding its feet socially and economically through self-help groups and microenterprises with the state government's help. It is also striking out independent of the lesbian, gay and bisexual groups. More non-governmental organisations must come forward to help the transgenders become economically independent.

Transgenders in India often have to contend with mixed responses whenever they are in public spaces. This has led many of them to live mostly in segregated slums. According to a report in the Times of India, 30 May 2014, an official count puts the number of the transgenders in India at 4.49 lakh; about 4.5% or 22,000 of them live in Tamil Nadu. Eking out a livelihood from begging and commercial sex work, they continue to remain marginalised, ghettoised and disempowered as a community. Most Indians seem to be reluctant to recognise this community because they are obsessed with the idea of gender dichotomy and are unmindful of the existence of the “third gender.”

In the absence of public support, the transgender community faces a host of socio-economic problems. They are often subject to sexual exploitation and sexual harassment because of their vulnerable position in the society. Consequently, they are highly susceptible to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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