India IDAHO Report 2012

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Manas Bangla is a network of 13 community-based organisations engaged in the distribution of medical and social support to about 10,000 gay men, transgender people and hijras in West Bengal. Faced with the suspension of State subsidies, activists used IDAHO as the stage for a massive protest public action that attracted extensive media coverage.

The street protest was held in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in the form of a three-minute “die-in”, with flowersplaced on the “dead bodies” as a sign of mourning and remembrance of the many who died due to homophobic and transphobic hatred. Statements were also made to publicly call on the relevant authorities to ensure everyone’s basic right to health.
In other events, activists developed three posters and one booklet which highlighted the inner strength and courage exhibited by MSM, hijras and transgenders in living ordinary lives as extraordinary people. The booklet, entitled “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People”, portrays moments from the day to day life of MSM, hijras and transgenders across South Asia. It’s a photo essay of selected photographs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The two posters, entitled “I am proud to be a kothi”, reflect the essence of living life as a kothi in a society where stigma, discrimination and social exclusion profoundly impact their self-acceptance.

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