Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust (TWEET) aka Tweet Foundation is a community-based organisation in India based out of New Delhi and Mumbai was established by seven trans activists in 2017 to serve the young trans movement in India. TWEET especially focuses on the transmen community that faces extreme gender-based violence and has been highly invisibilized. TWEET is a completely trans-led organisation and as a pioneer in India, represents equal partnership among transmen & transwomen. The organisation came to an existence to support work specifically on issues that had not been addressed in other larger HIV or advocacy programmes in past in India. Resources for young trans people have been scarce and the real issues of the community from a social, psychological, economical standpoint have remained unaddressed. Tweet works to provide critical support to young transmasculine and transfeminine persons such as crisis support, short shelter stay, health and legal resources and connecting with skill building and inclusive employment opportunities. On the other hand, Tweet works closely with the stakeholders for mainstreaming advocacy. Tweet works with the government to bring in policy-level changes and works with civil societies and corporates to build strategic partnerships to support the trans movement and trans welfare.
Our mission is to build empowered, self-sufficient, and vibrant Trans movement in India by wholly caring for the welfare of transgender person; their education, medical treatment, legal standing, and culture and social wellbeing.
Our Activities :
Transgender persons across India have long been discriminated and ostracised due to their gender identity. There is a huge lack of social support and inclusion in families, public spaces, education institutes and workplaces. The issue for economically deprived people is compounded as there are no or few policies that protect them and help them access basic healthcare, legal rights, education and employment. Hence Tweet takes a two-fold approach in addressing the issues :
1) We provide handholding support to transgender persons in accessing health and legal services, education and employment, support to access information and get gender-affirming care. We build awareness amongst community members to build their capacity to raise their voices and advocate for their rights in various spaces.
2) Increasing public awareness about trans persons and their human right issues, sensitisation of individuals, corporate, lawmakers, advocacy with the government in order to mainstream and ensure inclusion of trans-friendly policies and creation of trans friendly spaces
Tweet currently works on the following activities :
Our helpline number and social media channels become a point in contact for the transgender persons across India to get the necessary information and support. There is a lack of information on gender affirming healthcare, legal aspects and general information on how to navigate public and family spaces as a transperson. Our helpline and online support groups ensure that young transmen and transwomen get the social and psychological support. The helpline till date has supported more than 1500 young transpersons across India.
Tweet started a shelter home in Delhi for transmen who faced gender-based violence from their families and needed shelter support. Since January 2020, we have supported more than 35 persons to access short-stay shelter support and provided them with safe space during time of crisis. We also support them with linkages with legal experts, counselors and employment support that helps them in re-claiming their lives in a sustainable manner.
In Mumbai Tweet has been awarded Garima Greh (shelter home for 25 transgender persons) project by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The projects aims to provide safe space to young trans people who are not able to find acceptance within their homes and need an environment that can support their needs.
Most trans people drop out of schools before the age of 17, due to bullying and non-inclusive education systems. This puts the community at a economical and social disadvantage. Tweet currently works with government departments and corporates to offer skilling initiatives to the trans community members who want to access livelihood support. Tweet has worked with the department under the Ministry of Social justice to support residential skill building programs for transmen in 2020. We have also worked with companies like Amazon, HP, Noida Metro, Godrej, Lalit Hotels, JLL, Fluor, Sodexo, Accenture, Netflix, and many more to place more than 50 transgender persons in various roles. We partner with social enterprises like inHarmony and Periferry to work with corporate partners.
We partner with community institutions (healthcare, judiciary, and educational), private medical practitioners, legal cells, state and central government stakeholders to strengthen the awareness and acceptance of trans persons.
So far we have implemented small projects on advocacy with The Humsfar Trust and also implemented a year long project (2018-2019) supported by International Trans Fund (ITF) focused on providing psychosocial support, legal literacy, community mobilisation and events. Our board members have actively been individual critics and contributors to the reforms and suggestion for guidelines for the Trans Act 2019 and implementation guidelines.
Talent and potential can get overshadowed because of the trans stigma. Tweet conducts specific events to focus on the creative aspects of the personalities of our community members to give everyone a platform to showcase their personal talents and spread happiness.Talent hunt competitions; Dancing queen events – a sister organisation to promote trans advocacy through dance events. Street plays and transmen sports teams. We strongly believe that its important to celebrate the vibrant trans history in India and continue to build the culture and art movement.
Tweet conducts specific events that focuses on building a second-line leadership of trans activists and changemakers. Tweet as a pioneer is one of the only few trans-led organisations in India that is working to bring in systemic changes focusing on social and economical standpoint. Tweet also holds a unique space because of the richness of experience held in trans-activism and non-profit operations by all of its board members and leaders. Our events regarding legal awareness, capacity building and leadership focus to ensure that we continue to strengthen the community with future leaders.
For transmen health, Tweet is currently leading India’s first health research study in collaboration with Sampoorna Group and Principal Researchers from Drexel and Harvard University. The study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, US and will be used as an advocacy tool to further the support initiatives for transmen in India.