Project Access builds on learnings of All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMANA) and SAATHII. It supports AMANA in expanding advocacy in Manipur (beyond what is covered by Project Empower) and extending it to north-eastern states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Result Area 1
Full implementation of SC NALSA judgment in North-Eastern states.
(i) In August 2018, the Dep’t of Social Welfare convened the meeting with the sub-committee members, including representatives from SAATHII, AMANA and ETA, to discuss the templates developed and submitted by SAATHII, AMANA and ETA. The templates are meant to enable transgender community members to self-identify via gender change affidavits. The reviewed versions of the templates are to be submitted to the Transgender Welfare Board in the upcoming meeting of the Board and upon its approval the templates are to be sent to the Cabinet for their sign up before announcing formally.
(ii) The Director from Dep’t of Social Welfare, Gov’t of Meghalaya, has asked for more good practices from other Indian states to build upon those experiences. The project team members are working on submission of more documentation for reference. In couple of months, the dep’t may come up with specific strategies for transgender-inclusive social welfare programs.
Result Area 2
Inclusion of transgender students and framing of policies to ensure bullying-free environments in schools and colleges, (both public and private) in Manipur.
(i) A total of twelve case studies have documented the experiences of LGBTIQ+ community members on bullying and harassment in educational institutions. Some of the case studies were shared during the Manipur inter-departmental workshop (Jun 2018, Imphal). SAATHII and AMANA will further use these documents during advocacy actions.
(ii) During the education-specific workshop and during inter-departmental workshop, AMANA and SAATHII were able to bring together teachers from various schools, lecturers and principals from various colleges, professor from one of the key universities and key official from Department of Education in discussing issues of transgender and gender non-conforming children and need for addressing bullying and harassment in educational institutions. SAATHII and AMANA will further explore possibility of reaching out to respective educational institutions to conduct institution-specific orientation workshops.
(iii) In meetings with the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), SAATHII, AMANA and ETA have been informally asked to crowdsource inputs on the draft education policy of Manipur and share with the department officials. This will certainly create opportunity to submit requests for LGBTIQ+ inclusive contents in students’ textbooks and teachers’ training curricula.
Result Area 3
Positive attitudinal change among stakeholders (religious leaders, healthcare providers, media) for LGBT-supportive environments and services in the north-east region.
(i) Thoubal District Hospital has included ‘T’ (transgender) along with ‘male’ and ‘female’ in their out-patients (OPD) ticket to enable the non-binary trans people identify and enroll themselves in the health care system. The progress made is encouraging and one of the milestones of Project Access’ advocacy actions. The project team members have been using the success to motivate authorities from other health care settings. The Superintendent from Thoubal district hospital was also invited to the inter-departmental workshop in Imphal to share the good practice.
(ii) The initial dialogues initiated with the Manipur chapters of various professional bodies (IMA, FOGSI, IAP) have been encouraging in terms of their progressive assurance for collaborative seminars/ workshops to address inclusive health care related issues in the state, including the gender transitioning related procedures.
Result Area 4
Contribution to national advocacy efforts to read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
(i) In July 2018, the five-members constitutional bench, including the Chief Justice of India completed hearing of the petitions and the judgement was reserved. AMANA leadership and community members were actively involved in bringing the north-east issues on board during regional and national discussions.
(ii) On Sept 6, 2018, within a week of the reporting period covered by this report, the Supreme Court read down Section 377 to exclude consensual relationships among adults. The AMANA team and other north-eastern partners have been involved in disseminating results as part of state-specific advocacy, and sharing implications of the verdict with relevant stakeholders.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Project Access' in the subject line. Project Access is supported by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.