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India's Transgender Model Agency

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The Mitr Trust, a Delhi-based LGBT charity, has a dream!

We are launching India’s first Transgender Model Agency - run by transgender people, for transgender people - and we need your help to make this a reality!

This is an effort by the transgender community to improve our social and personal image, and to raise awareness about the serious issues of discrimination and marginalisation that we face.

I am Rudrani Chettri, a TG activist from Delhi, head of the Mitr Trust, and I have worked for more than 10 years, spreading awareness and fighting to improve TG lives in India. The Trust helps over 1,500 TG people in Delhi alone. 

Our FB page:

I am incredibly excited to be teaming up with the well-known and hugely successful fashion stylist, Rishi Raj . Rishi has been styling in the mainstream Indian fashion industry for over 10 years and as member of the LGBT community is very keen to help us realise our dreams.

Rishi's FB page:

Together we want to launch India’s first transgender model agency because:

1. We want beautiful, talented young TGs to be given a chance as models, to get respectable, mainstream work and show they can do it. We want them to work in fashion, in film and TV, for media both mainstream and independent. For too long, our community has faced severe restrictions on the kind of work we can do. Transgender people face severe discrimination and prejudice in society, in the workplace and among their families and local communities, and many are restricted to begging or sex work to make a living. We want to change this. Our model agency will offer hope and be a symbol for change.

2. We want to transform the image of transgender people in India. We are neither male nor female, but a third gender; and we are beautiful. We want to become positive role models for others, so no-one else has to grow up as we did, feeling like there was something wrong with them, and they were the only person in the world born like this.

3. We are launching the model agency with the aim of getting widespread press and publicity to raise awareness about a severe funding crisis affecting Mitr Trust and other similar organisations. In the past year, there has been a 22% national cut in AIDS funding, and we have found funds have been frozen. This has made it impossible for us to carry on the work we are doing. We have not been able to pay staff for eight months and have not been able to provide condoms to sex workers at a high-risk group. We fear that AIDS is once again on the rise in India and the services we provide to the community – providing a safe space, free condoms and HIV testing, medical help and general support - will all be jeopardised. Already we have lost most of our staff.


Morale is very low within our community. To raise it, and to challenge the situation, we have decided to launch India’s first Transgender Model Agency

We want to hold an open casting call to all TGs across Delhi to get head shots and fashion advice from Rishi Raj and myself. It will be a nationwide audition to find India’s next TG models, and to join the agency.

Our aim is that five aspiring models will be selected and they will get a portfolio shoot with a top fashion photographer.

We will print postcards of these models. which will also contain  information about the funding crises affecting our community. We hope to sell these postcards far and wide.

We also hope to engage a web designer and PR agency who will help take our ambitions further and make the agency a functioning reality.


We are hoping to raise £2,000 to support the launch of India’s First Transgender Model Agency.

The money raised will be spent as follows;

£2,000 for the casting call and shoot. This breaks down as:

Location - £200 .
We will need about £200 to hire out a big enough space with changing rooms and mirrors in a central Delhi location, to hold the casting call audition. We hope to see many TGs there and want the space to be big enough and accessible. We hope the event will attract the publicity we need to launch our agency.

Professional Photographer - £200
We want to have a professional photographer who will take our head shots. A professional photographer would cost about £400 for the whole day. We hope to find someone willing to donate their services for free or a discount, but if not, we will pay.

Make Up and Style  - £100

We will need a make up and style team working with us, we are having this on a discounted £300
 from promises already received.

We will need some basic wardrobe, overheads, transport costs, and the event will be filmed by a camera crew - £200

Graphic designer- £100
We want to hire a local designer who will help us design posters and spread information with the local Indian media  

Finally, we want to raise £1,200 to keep our charity running. 

We work closely with 15,000 TGs who are in very desperate living conditions . We need this money to stay active and alive , to provide a safe space to young tbs facing intense physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

We need this money to carry on our work in keeping a deadly disease like AIDS at bay before it becomes an epidemic.

We need these funds by the 3rd of Feburary 2016 - six weeks time!

We will then hold the casting call auditions in the following week.

We would love to hear from you if you have time instead of money and can help us find one or any of the things we are looking for and want to help.

A little bit of our back story-

TG people in India – often known as hijrahs – face huge obstacles in our lives; we are shunned by our families and by mainstream society, we have great difficulty in getting accommodation, in accessing basic education and services, and in getting a job in a workplace where there is overwhelming discrimination. Assaults, rape and murder are far higher than for other members of Indian society and most hijrahs are forced into begging or sex work to make ends meet, as society stereotypes us into accepting only these roles.

At MITR Trust, we share the daily struggles of Indian transgender people; and we know how beautiful, how talented, how spiritual they are, and we can see what huge potential transgender people have if only people will give us the respect to let us live and work in the mainstream, not marginalise us and treat us as outcasts.

In 2014 Indian courts passed law recognising us as a Third Gender entitled to equal rights and protection under law. We celebrated then but in reality nothing much has changed, infact things have become much harder at the ground level.


We have been left out on the margins too long, we appreciate each and everyone of you who reaches out to us. We are looking for a community to grow where we can speak up - please write to us and we will keep this page constantly updated with every development as it happens.

We will also thank every donation made by sending across our postcards



 You are talking about us ;


And more look BuzzFeed had us in to


and more


We did and interview with Radio Mirchi

and even made it to the Chinese TV


We are so touched but we need your help - come on, lets form a community and change centuries old perceptions together.


Rudrani Chettri Chauhan

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