A Melbourne-based filmmaker has started a crowdfunding campaign to create a path-breaking film about the trans community in India, as a means to support Indian youth struggling to express their gender identities.

The film will be entitled Ek Asha (A Hope) and will follow a trans woman on her journey to become a teacher in modern day India.

Filmmaker Mayur Katariya was inspired to create the film after meeting with a group of trans women in his hometown of Surat for a short documentary project last year.

Their stories, hardships, and moments of strength will be written into the film, and all of the film’s trans characters will be played by trans people.

Katariya believes the film will result in greater awareness and understanding around ‘Hijra’ members – the Indian word for the trans women community.

“I would love for young people in India who are questioning their gender identity to watch my film and learn that they can also pursue their dreams,” he said.

“I believe with greater understanding and acceptance from their families and society, trans people will have more opportunities in a new India and modern world.”

An estimated three million trans people live in India, with widespread acceptance and support being vital to protect their rights. Trans people across the region face discrimination and persecution, as well as sexual violence.

Katariya and his team of Indian and Australian filmmakers require a total of $76,000 to make the film, however they’ve already raised $26,000, prompting them to open a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the remaining $50,000.

The final cut of the film is expected to be completed by March next year, set to be sent to national and international film festivals.

One hundred per cent of the donated funds will go towards making the film. To find out more or to donate to the campaign click here.

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