A Trans-Led Art Collective Is Shifting Perceptions Around Transgender People in India


A decade ago, India’s top court ruled that transgender people should be treated as a third category of gender. While that decision would seem to indicate a progressiveness in India, the lived experience for transgender people there differs greatly. Across the country, they are often derided and disparaged. Many are often turned out onto the streets by prejudiced families who fail to understand them. In public spaces, from streets and parks to mass transit, transgender and gender nonconforming persons often face persistent discrimination and outright exclusion. A Bengaluru-based arts collective, however, has been working to remediate this history of bias and discrimination by encouraging transgender people to forge a connection with the public through art. The Aravani Art Project, so named after a term used for the trans community in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, helps transgender people voice expressions through visual art.

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