Sunday March 29, 2020
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First modelling agency for transgenders in India

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Transgenders

By Nivedita

New Delhi: The LGBT Indian community, which is fighting a legal battle asking to revoke Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code on the grounds of violation of human rights, is set to launch the first of its kind modelling agency for transgenders.

The idea, according to Delhi-based transgender activist Rudrani Chettri, evolved out of a “feeling of frustration seeing many young beautiful transgenders who are made to feel ugly” from a young age.

“I was one of them and there was no such option open to me when I was young. It’s also a desperate desire amongst us to be seen and to be accepted into the mainstream society and to get jobs like everyone else. I hope this creates a spark in young transgenders to follow their dreams,” Chettri, founder of Mitr Trust, a city-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) charity said.

Chettri feels that time and again, the community has been a victim of prejudice in society, in the workplace and among their families and local communities, which ultimately leads them to begging or sex work to make a living. She hopes the platform helps in an image overhaul.

“This is an effort by the transgender community to improve our social and personal image, and to raise awareness about the serious funding crisis affecting us. We are not men, we are not women. We are transgenders and are proud of it,” Chettri said.

As part of its activities, the agency aims is to identify five top models and help them launch into mainstream fashion media. They have also kept a pan-India audition and teamed up with fashion stylist and photographer Rishi Raj, who will work towards getting them a spread in a leading fashion magazine.

A walk-in model audition is scheduled for Sunday and the chosen models will go through a photo shoot.

“I want this photo shoot to enhance and highlight the natural androgynous beauty of the transgender/hijra community,” Raj said.

He felt the concept of a modelling agency for transgenders may do well given how the “world is opening up” to them.

“The greatest example in the recent past being Caitlyn Jenner (international celebrity Bruce Jenner, who underwent sex transition). Fashion takes great pride in breaking boundaries and creating new trends so in a Utopian scenario, the modelling agency should do well. This activity will create awareness about the Indian transgender community,” he added.

In addition, the Mitr Trust has been working with an Indian-British team of filmmakers for the last one year to closely document the lives and struggles of transgenders. The organisation however currently lacks money to support the dream.

A crowdfunding campaign has been started on the BitGiving online platform to finance the endeavour.

“We want to raise awareness for the funding. This will allow us to carry on working with the community as we have not been able to pay our workers for eight months now, nor have we been able to provide condoms to high-risk sex workers,” said Chettri.

On Tuesday, the LGBT community rejoiced at the Supreme Court’s decision to refer to a constitution bench a batch of curative petitions seeking a relook at its earlier verdict upholding the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality.(IANS)(image: storypick.com)

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India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon India Delivery and functioning of Essential Goods via. E-commerce companies Disrupted

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Virus Outbreak Amazon
India's coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart. Pixabay

India’s coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, despite government assurances it would not, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Differing state and district level regulations relating to the 21-day lockdown, which began on Wednesday, are hindering operations, the sources said on Friday, with e-commerce firms finding it difficult to get curfew passes for delivery staff.

The disruptions highlight the difficulties of ensuring the supply of essential goods to 1.3 billion people during the shutdown in India, which has so far reported 724 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths. Most of Amazon’s 60 plus fulfillment centers in India are shut and the U.S. company is in talks with state authorities to try to reopen them, three of the sources said. Industry executives say local authorities have not followed guidelines, stopping deliveries and warehouses from operating.

Virus Outbreak Amazon
A sign is lit on the facade of an Amazon fulfillment center. VOA

“It’s worse than one can think,” one source said, while a second added that only a “miniscule” number of Amazon warehouses were operating, citing this as a key reason for disruptions. Even when operations do begin to return to normal, it will only be in major cities, the second source added.

Amazon said in a statement that its top priority was to deliver the products which customers need the most and it was seeking urgent help from federal government and local authorities with detailed on-the-ground operating procedures. In New Delhi, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and the delivery slot for essential goods, such as oil and soaps, was shown as being April 26.

“There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate,” Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India.

Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday and said the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people.”

Also Read- Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been hit, with some grocery items which had been available earlier on Friday in New Delhi intermittently going out of stock. A source familiar with the situation said Flipkart was facing challenges with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse due to restrictions on movement.

Flipkart said in a statement it had resumed grocery operations and there was a significant spike in orders. “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” it said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.  (VOA)