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Transgenders fight stigma to usher rainbow of change

in INDIA, 08/12/2013

Filling a job application and writing an exam, considered quite mundane by most people, became a privilege for five transgenders in Tamil Nadu. Calling themselves transwomen and transmen, they have scripted a story of struggle and success.

Swapna, 23, from Madurai became the first transgender in the country to be legally allowed to choose her gender, after she along with Selvi Premkumar, a physiotherapist, Living Smile Vidya, a writer, Grace Banu, who holds a diploma in computer engineering, and M Selvam, who calls himself a transman, moved the Madras high court seeking 3% reservation in education and jobs, and permission for Swapna to write the state public service examination as a 'woman' .

They had met on Facebook and are rallying for change in the government to help transgenders navigate through everyday life as equals.

On Wednesday, when the TNPSC told the HC Swapna will be allowed to write the exam as a 'woman' , it was a big social leap for the community. "I see this as an opportunity for more transgenders to come forward," says Swapna. "But the relief is temporary, we have a long way to go," she adds quickly.

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