Four trans women have made commuting in Hyderabad, India just a little bit safer as they take on the role of traffic ambassadors.
The women performed one and half minute skits and informed motorists of road safety tips at a major intersection.
Dressed as flight attendants the women performed the skit to a voice over that encouraged motorists to wear seatbelts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. They also handed motorists pamphlets with road safety tips.
‘Wear seatbelts and helmets, we will bless you,’ the women told motorists.
The Rotary Club of Chennai Royals came up with the idea of the traffic ambassadors. Some of its members accompanied the women and held placards with road safety messages.
The group will take their messages on the road and visit eight other cities.
But the aim of the stunts was two-fold. While the Rotary Club wanted to promote road safety, it also wanted to raise the profile of trans people.
‘Transgenders are viewed in a bad light by the society. We are happy to get associated with such a laudable effort,’ a spokesperson for the Rotary Club told The Hans India.
Trans people in India face widespread discrimination and lack many legal protections. Some states, such as Kerala, have anti-discrimination laws, and government housing and employment schemes for trans people, but many places in India do not.
The trans community and its allies are currently in a fierce fight to stop the overhaul of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill.
They claim the modifications to the bill restrict their rights, rather than granting them more freedoms.
Activist Meera Sanghamitra described the bill as ‘extremely problematic’.
Sanghamitra argued the bill denied the right to self identify. The bill amendments would force trans people to be ‘inspected’ before they could officially affirm their gender.
The new law would also criminalize begging, which is often the sole source of income for many trans Indians.
Activists argued the new bill also has no provisions to encourage integration and offers no extra protection for trans Indians. Currently, charges of stalking, sexual assault, and rape, apply only to cisgender women.