In June, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released a 152-page report, ‘Living with Dignity: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-Based Human Rights Violations in Housing, Work, and Public Spaces in India’, details human rights violations suffered by LGBTQ persons in their family homes, workplaces, and public spaces including streets, public toilets, public transport and shopping centres.
As part of the report, ICJ interviewed many people whose testimonies too have been included in the report. The report documents obstacles faced by LGBTQ persons seeking access to public spaces, including discriminatory policing, gendered toilets and transport, harassment and abuse by State officials.
Ajita Banerjie directed the film for the ICJ, where they talked to trans people on the issues that they face in their daily lives. The 10 minute video features trans woman Abheena Aher and trans men Jamal Siddiqui and Karthik Bittu.
Abheena shares how trans women find it very difficult to get good affordable houses, as most people refuse to rent their property to them. As a result, they often have to stay at slums or such places, and even there, they have to pay more than others. Jamal tells how he faces humiliation and harassment during frisking at security checks, and that he now prefers to travel via a cab to avoid this daily harassment, even though it pinches his pockets and leaves little in terms of savings. He also mentions switching jobs often because of trans phobia, and being looked over for promotions. Karthik talks about access to restrooms, and things he has to do to avoid awkward situations while using the bathroom.
A short version of the 10 minute video is available below. But you can watch the complete video by visiting this link.
The ICJ report offers a set of recommendations meant to make existing law and policy more protective of LGBTQ persons’ rights and calls for the amendment or repeal of certain existing laws.