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India’s LGBTQ+ ‘pioneer’ state bans abuse, boosts trans rights

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Police threats, slurs and even violence are all part of LGBTQ+ life in India, but a new rule could ease the onslaught in one southern state as it becomes a “pioneer” for sexual minorities.

The government of Tamil Nadu recently changed state conduct rules, telling its police officers to stop harassing LGBTQ+ Indians, on the orders of a high court judge.

The change, on paper at least, is radical – even if it is yet to trickle down to street level and mark a true turning point for sidelined minorities in socially conservative India, say LGBTQ+ rights campaigners. “Tamil Nadu is a pioneer in LGBTQ+ rights, especially when it comes to recognising trans lives,” said Kalki Subramaniam, a trans activist and founder of Sahodari Foundation, which helps trans women in Tamil Nadu. “With this amendment, a lot of innocent trans lives can be saved,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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