For Asia and the Pacific, HIV rates among transgender people are disturbingly high, ranging from 49% in Delhi, India to 11% in Bangkok, Thailand. It is estimated that there are nearly 10 million transgender people in this region, many of who often endure stigma and prejudice every day of their lives. Governments and communities alike must take steps to fully recognize, and begin to protect, the individual rights of all of citizens – including transgender people.
During a meeting last year of the HIV and the Law Commission, JVR Prasada Rao, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Asia and in the Pacific, declared, “Transphobia is a health issue!”
Transphobia is an irrational and unfounded fear of and antagonism towards people who are transgender or who otherwise go against traditional gender roles. Transphobia manifests as stigma with beliefs that transgender people are somehow less worthy than others, deeply defective or even less human, with a prejudice that includes unfavourable and groundless stereotyping of individuals.
“Overlooked, Ignored, Forgotten: HIV and Basic Rights of Transgender People in Asia and the Pacific” is a policy brief that concludes with four key recommendations for immediate action to support transgender people and their communities.