A group of trans women has realized its dream and will open their own hotel in Kerala, India.
The women planned to open the hotel called Hotel Ruchimudra in the state capital of Kochi in south east India.
Aditi Achuth, Saya Mathew, Preethi Alexander, Pranav, Ragaranjini and Meenakshi received US$14,320 in local government funding to set up the hotel.
The six women decided to start their own business to help promote a more positive representation of trans people in Kerala.
‘The major aim of ‘Ruchimudra’ is to change the negative attitude of the society towards transgenders,’ she told Mathrubhumi.
Along with the local government funding, the women also received funding from a charity. But the funding only covered some of the renovation costs of the four storey building. So the women decided to complete a lot of the work themselves in order to save money.
The building will house the hotel along with other support services for trans people. Those services will include counseling, office co-working space, shelter and yoga.
Kerala is one of the most progressive states in India when it comes to trans issues.
In 2017, the state government assigned 23 roles to trans people on the new Kochi Metro Rail service. In the same year, it also launched a housing scheme for the trans community.
Despite these advances and other, the trans community still face high levels of violence and discrimination. LGBTI students also have high school drop out rates. A 2017 study found that 70% of LGBTI high school students drop out because of stigma, bullying and discrimination.