NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Discrimination, housing and the impact of COVID-19 are among the top priorities for India’s new National Council for Transgender Persons, two trans members said on Tuesday. India is seen as a global leader for its efforts to improve the lives of an estimated 2 million trans people, who face prejudice in the largely conservative country and mostly survive through begging, performing at weddings or selling sex. “One point that runs as a spinal cord in all of this is stigma and discrimination,” said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, one of India’s highest profile trans leaders and a member of the council, which she described as “historic”. “We have to get down to work with a big advocacy plan to end this,” Tripathi, who was a petitioner in a landmark 2014 court ruling which recognised trans people as a third gender with equal rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Trans people are often denied access to jobs, education and healthcare – three areas that Tripathi, a founder of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network, highlighted as priorities, along with shelter.