Having faced ages of neglect, denial and invisibility, “Kothis” (feminised males) are now being mobilized by groups like ‘Bharosa’ in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (India) to be empowered and demonstrate leadership in reaching out within their community for increasing access to essential services including HIV prevention, care, treatment and support services. They are routinely encouraged to practice safer sexual practices and protect themselves from any kind of abuse or exploitation.
Kothis, or feminised males, are unique and don’t necessarily identify with gender identities of man, woman, or other identities now increasingly getting accepted like those of gays or men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). Kothis are neither gays nor eunuchs and because of this, they are outcasts in these groups and several rungs lower in social status. Thus, sans any rights within the said group, they are often severely exploited and abused.