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Shabeena Francis Saveri(March 2011)

In this podcast Shabeena Francis Saveri from India talks about attending the human rights conference.

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This summary provides an overview of an interview with Shabeena Francis Saveri, conducted by Gareth Watkins at the Wellington Town Hall. During the interview, Saveri, who is from Mumbai and a doctoral student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, discusses their research on the transgender social movement in Tamil Nadu, India.

Tamil Nadu is highlighted for its pioneering steps in transgender welfare, being the first state in India to implement a transgender welfare policy. This policy allows transgender individuals to receive free sex reassignment surgery at government hospitals, establish educational quotas, and apply for scholarships for higher education. Additionally, Tamil Nadu issues various citizenship documents to transgender people through a unique Welfare Board that includes both transgender community members and state officials.

Saveri sheds light on the establishment of this Welfare Board, attributing it to the persistent efforts of transgender activists in Tamil Nadu. The state's initiatives for the transgender community are acknowledged as a model for development that could be replicated by other states in India. The broader population in Tamil Nadu perceives the government as supportive towards marginalized groups, including the transgender community, which has led to fewer public objections to the establishment of the Welfare Board.

The interview also touches upon the contrast in the status of transgender individuals in Tamil Nadu versus other parts of India, where opportunities and rights are significantly limited. While the welfare policies in Tamil Nadu are restricted to those born within the state, they serve as an inspiration for other transgender communities in India to campaign for similar provisions.

Discussing the broader societal challenges faced by transgender people in India, Saveri emphasizes the stigma, discrimination, and the lack of basic human rights outside Tamil Nadu. However, there is optimism for change with the inclusion of transgender issues in India's 12th Five-Year Plan, indicating the potential for nationwide progress.

The conversation includes mentions of administrative changes, such as the introduction of a third gender option on official forms, although there is the complexity that some transgender individuals prefer identifiers other than "other".

As Saveri works on completing their thesis and looks forward to publishing papers in international journals, they note the lack of extensive research on transgender issues, which represents an opportunity for more scholarly contributions.

The interview culminates with Saveri reflecting on their participation in a human rights conference, how it will influence their research, and their ambition to conduct postgraduate comparative studies on transgender situations across the Asia Pacific region.

Lastly, Saveri expresses hope for the future, envisioning a world where transgender individuals live dignified lives without discrimination, enjoying full human rights. The interview is part of a series that includes other recordings and is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand, with additional resources available on related websites.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:17th March 2011
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004194).