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Jubilant ‘others’ all set for Transgenders Day

It is a memorable week for the transgenders in the state, who are all geared up to celebrate Transgenders Day on Friday that has been recognised by the government for the first time.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

21st April 2011 09:44

Alessia Valenza

CHENNAI: The TGs, who for the first time voted under the ‘others’ category, will also end this special week with the Koovagam fest on Monday. But many of them feel that dedicating a day for them is only the beginning and that they expect the next government to give them reservations in government colleges and jobs, counseling centres, in MLA and MP seats and a chapter on them in school syllabus, besides laws to legalise them and protect the community.

The first official Transgender’s Day will be marked with programmes for and by the transgenders. “For years, we had longed for this wish of a Day for us to come true. And finally it has. It is the result of the fight. It is an important day in all our lives,” said Jeeva, president, Transgender Rights Association.

Most of the community members here, who have delayed their trip to Villupuram, have planned events where they would invite college students to participate. “We will also forward text messages wishing everyone in our community. Since we don’t have much time, we will plan it big next year perhaps with an award function recognising TGs who have excelled in different fields,” said Priya Babu, president, Tamilnadu Transgender People Federation, which is spread over 26 districts.

Tamilnadu AIDS Initiative (TAI), an organisation aided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will also organise programmes. “We had the political will that has turned to help the quality of their lives. Acknowledging a day for them is good but there’s a long way to go,” said Dr R LakshmiBai, Project Director, TAI.

The community sees the Transgenders Day as a triumph after a long battle and hopes that the next state government will do them more good. They have prepared their requests for permanent jobs and reservations. “We want reservations like what was given for Arunthathiyars. Also, we need constituencies reserved for us like how it has been reserved for Dalits. This will be our request to the next government, whoever wins,” said Noori, a community person, who added that their community felt ‘hurt’ by the ‘others’ category in voters list and said that they want it to be replaced with the word ‘transgenders’.

The community also wants a chapter about them to be included in school syllabus. “Only over a thousand TGs have voter IDs whereas there are over 15,000 transgenders in the state. This has to change and we need laws to protect us. There is a long way to go,” said Kalki, who would be missing the Koovagam festival as she will be a panelist in a South-Asian Conference on violence against marginalised women organised in Nepal.