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My life, my way

A. Revathi, a vivacious transsexual woman, whose prose and poetry has been translated into Kannada, English and Hindi, shares: “I was originally a boy named Doraisamy. Although my parents accepted my sexuality privately, they discouraged me from dressing as a woman in public. I could not find a job and depended on them, financially.”

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14th October 2012 00:34

Alessia Valenza

It was when Revathi moved to Bangalore, the nearest city to her home town Namakkal in Tamil Nadu that she came into her own. “A woman I had known from Mumbai, who was like my mother, told me about the Hamam culture — a household where many ‘hijras’ reside together like a family — prevalent in the city and introduced me to one of them,” she adds.

Revathi, now 45, spent nearly two decades in the city before she went back to her home in 2011 to take care of her aging father. During her time in Karnataka, she was involved in various campaigns for the rights and entitlements of sexual minorities and other marginalised communities. Additionally, she had served as the director of Sangama, an NGO that has been championing the cause of sexual minorities and sex workers for more than 10 years. In July 2010, Penguin India published her autobiography The Truth About Me, which feminist historian V. Geetha translated into English from Tamil. Today, Revathi continues to write and be a voice for the rights of girls, women and sexual minorities.

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