Case Study: Livelihood, Exclusion and Opportunity: Socioeconomic Welfare among Gender and Sexuality Non-normative People in India

IDS Evidence Report
Dhall, P. and Boyce, P.
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Tuesday, 3 February, 2015

This case study explores the socioeconomic experiences of gender and sexuality minority peoples in India, especially in respect of ways in which sexual and gender ‘difference’ may be correlated to economic hardship and restricted opportunities for livelihood in the context of Indian socioeconomic ‘modernity’. Growth of economic opportunity through neoliberal models of economic expansion is typically achieved via the extension of economic opportunity for some people amidst the endurance of ongoing socioeconomic precarity for most others.

The report considers these issues in the context of livelihood, poverty, economic opportunity and restraint in the lives of gender and sexuality non-conforming people in India, with a specific focus on the eastern Indian states of Odisha and Manipur. These sites were chosen because in the last five years they have been among the states that have witnessed a number of community, government, non-governmental organisation and donor-backed initiatives undertaken on economic inclusion for people with non-normative genders and sexualities.

  • Facilitate awareness-generation sessions on psycho-social, medical and legal processes involved in feminisation/masculinisation (gender identity change, sexual reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy) for transgender people
  • Facilitate continuing initiatives that train and handhold people in negotiating the rules and regulations (paperwork) in applying for and accessing social security schemes, including timely follow-up
  • Support community discourse42 on issues of gender, sexuality and human rights to generate awareness and address self-stigma among people with non-normative genders and sexualities through community meetings/events/other forums
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