A first-of-its-kind shelter home for transpersons has opened at Periyar Nagar in Chennai. This home has been set up by the Transgender Rights Association, a community-based organisation, in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and National Institute of Social Defense.
Apart from providing them food and shelter, the organisation would be offering transgenders training programmes according to their areas of interest. Each person is permitted to stay up to one year.
R Jeeva Rangaraj, the founder and trustee of Transgender Rights Association, said as many as 25 persons can be accommodated in this shelter house. “This is our 10-year-dream. We wanted a secure place for us, we wanted to break the stigma associated with our community members. We placed our request before the central government and they have now opened the shelter in Chennai, we are thankful to both the state and central governments. We are furthermore happy that the place is inaugurated in the Chief Minister’s constituency. The objective of the shelter is to make all transmen and transwomen self-reliant,” Jeeva said.
The district social welfare officer inaugurated the centre in the city.
The home will provide basic computer training, beautician training, tailoring, jute bag manufacturing and jewellery making. For those who have completed their higher education, it plans to provide communication development skills.
“Eight people have joined us till now which includes four from Chennai. Anyone from Tamil Nadu can join us here. We verify their Thirunangai card and Aadhar card before admitting them as we have to update our member details to the district social welfare authority. We first do the case study, address their grievances, instill confidence in them and then once they are relaxed, we speak to them about what kind of setup we have here,” Jeeva added.
This is a pilot initiative in Chennai. Based on the outcome of these shelter homes, many such centres are likely to be set up in the state.