Gender, is no longer understood in a binary manner. It does not mean that the struggle is over, but simply mean, the struggle to break stereotypes, patriarchy, cliches of gender roles are undergoing a major makeover and gathering international recognition. In particular, Transgender movement across the world has reached an accelerated phase and the transgender community and its allies are making a significant progress.
In simple terms, ‘transgender’ refers to people that do not conform to the gender assigned at birth. With millions of people embracing their gender identity, transgender movement across the world has reached an accelerated phase where the community is slowly graduating from fighting for basic rights, identity and acceptance to make a political statement and demand its fair representation in media, arts, pop-culture and decision making.
India is one among the handful of countries that legally recognize transgenders (cited as third gender in a lot of cases) and are working towards bringing them to the mainstream society. The year 2017 itself has been a witness to historical moments such as having the first school principal (West Bengal), government jobs (Kerala), sports meet (Kerala), police officer (Tamil Nadu), Ashoka Fellow (Karnataka) and most recently marriage of India’s first transgender couple – truly been a landmark in Indian history.
Despite all this, the transgender community faces systemic barriers to access basic education, skilling & job opportunities, access to dignified health support and housing. At one end of the continuum, there is a phenomenal transgender news reader breaking glass ceiling and at the other end we have films that treat the community as caricatures and even worse, few media houses that do not hesitate to spread transphobia. What is crucial is to create a platform where all the stakeholders can engage in a dialogue enabling social inclusion a reality.
These challenges call for an international cooperation? ?to? ?foster? ?the? ?empowerment? ?of? ?transgender? ?individuals. Bringing policy makers, political leaders, corporate houses, media representatives, general public and representatives from the transgender community (actually, all from LGBTIQ) is the need of the hour. This will foster dialogue and together as one reclaim the lost spaces and identity across all sectors. It takes few dedicated individuals to make this platform a reality!
This December, India will have its first International Transgender Festival, Trans Diamond. A 5 day festival will be held in Bengaluru, Karnataka from 6th to 10th December 2017. Using “Arts” as a tool for social change, the Festival will pioneer an ecosystem to bring international community together, showcase models of development and build positive role models.
Held from December 6th to 10th 2017, Trans Diamond is a 5 day long festival organized by Make Room, the Indian- European social change ecosystem in collaboration with various national and international organisations and individuals from across Asia and Europe. The 5 days will be a confluence of cultural & artistic performances, intellectual discussions and personal conversations, through series of events such as – Leadership program, Social Beauty Pageant, Inspirational Talks, Open Forum and Film Screenings.
The Festival envisions identifying leaders from the community, build capacities to create solutions for the most pressing problems of the community, be the platform to showcase the artistic talents of the community and celebrate and empower diversity in its truest sense. These changemakers will focus on areas of Education & Skilling, Entrepreneurial Capacities, Inclusive Workspaces and Media Narratives.
Trans Diamond is also pioneering India’s first international Transgender Social Beauty pageant, with participants from Asia and Europe. During the pageant week, participants will meet the local community, leaders, undergo personality enhancing coaching program to be the confident individuals, set career goals and be the positive role models for the transgender community.
The Festival will be arts and culture treat for all the art lovers bringing in the best transgender themed short, documentary & feature films that will challenge the mainstream narratives and portray realistic life stories of the community. The Festival is a platform where extraordinary transgender leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, NGOs, social entrepreneurs will share their personal stories, ideas and inspire the community to come together.
An Open Forum (series of panel discussions) on pressing issues of the community will bring out thought and action provoking debates and solutions. Over 20 leading national and international organizations, corporate houses, NGOs, legal & media experts and policy-makers will make it a confluence of great minds and humanity.
This is the time to act in solidarity for the betterment of our community, collaborate to foster equal rights and empowerment of the transgender community. The festival is a community event and invites people, organizations, business houses to collaborate, volunteer and contribute.