Amid the absence of a shelter home for adult LGBTQI community run by the government, a private shelter home at Khurai Chairenthong, Imphal East is reaching out to the community members in the state, who are facing various issues, including social stigma and discrimination, with various facilities free of cost.
The shelter home called Shelter Space is providing free online and offline counselling and livelihood skill trainings to adult LGBTQI members in the state.
Run by Ya_All, it was inaugurated in September. However, due to social stigma, discrimination and other issues, many LGBTQI members prefer to stay in rented house during their transition period (hormone therapy period).
Lulu Mangang, who is a member of the community, told the Imphal Free Press during in interaction that he is in transition period and due to the changing of anatomical feature, voice and others he opted to stay away from his residence.
Despite the support from family members¸ he opted to stay separately, said Lulu.
“In my case, I did not face any difficulties from the ,family but many people of the community face social stigma during the transition period,” Lulu added.
During the transition period, the individual not only face issues on anatomical changes but also have mental stress and to support him or her during the transition period, a shelter that can provide proper counselling is needed, he said.
Presently, Lulu is working as an accountant at “Aura Children Home” located at Patsoi, Imphal West district. In the children home, trans-boys under 18 years of age can stay.
It is reported that Manipur has only two children homes, especially for trans-boys and trans-girl under 18 years of age. The shelter home for trans-girl has only three trans-girls.
Lulu said before the homes for trans-boys and trans-girls were established, they were allowed to stay at common children home in which they faced many problems during their stay.
Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press, Founder of Ya_all, Sadam Hanjabam said that in the state there is no such appropriate shelter space for adult LGBTQI. To support the LGBTQI who are facing social stigma, homeless, conflict in family and lack of support, the shelter provides them space, he added.
Due to the reason, many of the community members are also becoming victims of drugs and other illicit intoxicants. He said the space is run by crowd funding with the support from well-wishers. Any individual willing to support the home can support in any form of assistance.
Sadam also said that during the stay, the inmates are provided free counseling, free food and lodging for a week’s period. During the period of their stay at ‘Shelter Space’, the inmates are also provided livelihood support skill training so that they can stand of their own mentally and financially after leaving the home, he added.
He said the society has started accepting the LGBTQI community, but it needs more support to prevent unwanted incidents against them.
Shelter Space has a capacity of 15-20 inmates and at present two inmates are staying in the home.
When contacted, the Social welfare department told the Imphal Free Press that at present there is no such home for LGBTQI community run by the government. However, the government is planning to set up a separate shelter home for adult LGBTQI community.