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  • Writer's pictureSt Thomas Church

Fostering Inclusivity in Our Community

In a remarkable display of unity and compassion, the Pandurang Wadi community hosted a Meet-and-Greet session with transgenders, advocate Ashish Shigwan and his colleague on October 8, 2023. Attended by 25 individuals, representing diverse neighbourhoods - 13 from Pandurang Wadi, 7 from Peru Baug, 1 from Church Colony, and 4 from Kailashpuri - this event was a testament to the community's commitment to embracing diversity, fostering understanding, dispelling misconceptions, and providing a platform to discuss the challenges faced by the transgender community.

The session, which began at 11:00 a.m., opened with a warm welcome by the community coordinator. She introduced Ashish Shigwan as a lawyer, social activist, and the founder of the NGO "Prayas ek Koshish." Ashish's notable achievements include numerous awards and sessions conducted for university students, illustrating his dedication to advocating for change.

Ashish, invited to start the session, began by referencing the Constitution, highlighting the ongoing struggle for transgender rights. He eloquently addressed the prejudices and judgments faced by transgender individuals and the painful reality of being shunned by their own families. Ashish emphasized the importance of genuine inclusivity, debunking myths and shedding light on the daily struggles transgender individuals endure in our society.

Drawing from his own experiences, Ashish stressed that two ordinary people are not the same, questioning why society often labels the transgender community as different. He thanked the organizers for providing a platform to discuss these vital issues, emphasizing that inclusivity should stem from the heart, not just mere lip service.

Through a powerful video titled "Wajood," Ashish conveyed the message that beauty has nothing to do with being transgender. He encouraged everyone to recognize that true beauty comes from within, urging them to view the transgender community with the same beauty.

Aruna D'souza delivered a heartfelt vote of thanks and invited Fr. Joseph to share his thoughts. The session concluded with a group photograph, symbolizing unity, and the distribution of snacks, which provided an opportunity for attendees to continue their conversations.

The 25 individuals present at this enlightening session left with a deeper understanding of the transgender community's struggles and a renewed commitment to fostering inclusivity, acceptance, and love in their hearts. This Meet and Greet event was a testament to the power of community and empathy, reminding us all that we can make a difference by embracing diversity and standing together.

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