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Forged Identity: Understanding Transgender and Social Exclusion in Odisha (India)
Transgender people in India face legal and social difficulties not experienced by common persons. Over the past decade, though LGBT people have gained more and more tolerance in India, especially in large cities, nonetheless, most LGBT people in India remain closeted, fearing discrimination from their families, who might see homosexuality as shameful. Reports of honour killings, attacks, torture, and beatings of members of the LGBT community are not uncommon in India. Discrimination and ignorance are particularly present in rural areas, where LGBT people often face rejection from their families and forced opposite-sex marriages. The Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional in September 2018 which allowed the freedom to the transgender people to live together freely. Even then the transgender people face social exclusion not only from society but also from own families. Hence, building on ethnographic study of transgender people of Ganjam district of Odisha (India), the present study seeks to explore the process, causes and consequences of social exclusion of transgender people from the society especially from their families. In the process, the paper makes an humble effort to explore how the transgender people build their separate identities beyond their families.