District level meeting on Housing Rights for Transgender Persons

Transgender Persons as soon as they come out to their family about their gender, they are treated in with extreme discrimination, except in the rarest of rare cases. They are homeless to begin with as in most cases the family does not support the person. Further, even if they manage to procure resources to rent a house, they are discriminated against in renting and buying houses, which further leads to their ghettoisation and extreme hardship.

Transgender person homesless to begin with

Transgender Persons are treated in mostly three ways. One, they are either sent out of their house, left to fend for themselves, with no resources from their house or assistance from family. This is doubly damaging since along with the family disregarding their existence, the state has also refused to provide any services or protective measures to enable a Transgender Person to live independently.

Second, the family considers their family member who would have come out as a transgender person to be a bane to their family and are held responsible for destroying the family name and breaking the family lineage as such, this then leads to the family abusing the transgender person being abused and their rights being violated by the family, the abuse is of many a kind – physical, sexual and mental. There are a number of instances where transgender persons are raped by their family members as a part of their conversion therapy, beaten till the point of death, cutting them off from the rest of the members of society – by snatching away their phone, restricting their movement, confiscating their identification papers and all kinds of movement of theirs being surveilled by the family.

The third response that is observed to be extremely common is that of complete denial of the gender identity of the Transgender Person, where the family refuses to accept the person’s self identified gender as theirs and continues to restrict the manner in which they represent themselves, humiliates and abuses the person and everyone they reach out to assistance for are called frauds and liars, with the sole aim of controlling them and their lives. Therefore, as soon as one comes out as trans they immediately become homeless, either in the understanding that they are sent out of their house or they are controlled so much that they are not able to exert their freedom of expression in whichever manner they would want. Therefore except in the rarest of cases a Transgender Person is born homeless.

Most persons who do indeed come out as to their immediate family about their gender are either sent out of their homes or the home environment becomes so restrictive and abusive that they run away from their homes. Therefore rendering Transgender Persons both without shelter, homeless and without any form and manner of support. This leads to a number of transgender persons out on the street, who are then left to fend for themselves. In the absence of support from the state that is specifically targeted for transgender persons, once transgender persons leave the house they were born in, they are left without shelter and out to fend for themselves, leaving them out on the street.

Discrimination in buying and renting houses

Even in the event when Transgender Persons are able to raise enough capital in order to rent or buy houses they again face discrimination from landlords. Transgender Persons are forced to shift houses more frequently than cis-gendered persons and their rent in hiked in order to restrict access. This increases the web of vulnerability in which Transgender Persons are caught in. These are the facts that have come from a pilot survey conducted by Humsafar Trust, over the period of June 2017 to March 2018.

Rejection and lack of support from the families and society, gender dysphoria associated with extreme stressful experiences, child sexual abuse, early discontinuation of schooling, forced marriages, lack of livelihood opportunities, sexual and financial exploitation by the partner and police and rowdies, and lack of legal measures for protection are some of the characteristics of transgender persons.

The transgender persons are forced to go out of their family and community; they are refused from education, employment and getting a house for rent; they stay at slums and many people under the same roof; they are ill-treated at health-care centers. All the transgender persons are belong to lower socioeconomic status have high level of perceived stigma, have poor social support from family, friends and significant others, and their level of perceived stress is high.

The studies have identified a number of risk factors for the high rates of suicide and suicidal behavior among transgender persons. The discrimination of the transgender persons in the society has prevented them from obtaining an education, job, and housing because of which they are living in slums or street and have to resort to begging and sex work; this pitiful conditions have lead them to breakdown further and end their life in suicide.

Stigma, discrimination, and violence against transgender persons occur across multiple social and institutional contexts; they are verbally harassed, physical and sexually abused and blackmailed by the police and rowdies; rejection, hateredness, verbal and physical abuse from friends and family members, stigmatization, refusal of services, and derogatory labeling at health-care system, etc., have lead them to lose interest in day-to-day activities; the risk of HIV and HIV status increase their psychological distress, and they express thoughts of committing suicide.

The suicidality among sexual minority community is associated with poor mental health condition in forms of mental illness, psychological pain, emotion fatigue, and low self-esteem; life being hard, being confused about one's sexuality or difficulty in accepting it, not being able to disclose one's sexuality bullying, history of forced sex, gender-based discrimination, and victimization and isolation are the other reasons for suicide among this population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) assault hate crimes at the neighborhood are an additional sociocontextual risk factors for suicidal ideation and attempts among sexual-minority adolescents.

Transgender persons being in adolescents and being in their early 20s and having history of suicide attempt, those who work in the Bar, entertainment and sex industries, survivors of violence perpetrated by intimate partners or family members, are potentially in higher risk for suicidality. Neither reporting the thoughts and behaviors of suicide and self-harm nor seeking help is common among sexual minorities.

Right to housing therefore is a critical right that has to be enforced especially in the case of transgender persons who are in extremely vulnerable positions due to the lack of access to housing rights.