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Lanka-born Priya Babu, a 40-year-old transgender in Chennai, faced several hurdles. She resolved to work for the empowerment of the third gender.
Priya strives to work for transgenders

in INDIA, 02/05/2012

Priya Babu, who hails from a chartered accountant’s family in Tiruchy and was an “unwanted boy” as a 19-year-old, is now a celebrated transgender writer in Tamil Nadu, having published four books, including one for a UN book project.

Priya Babu told Deccan Chronicle how she suffered a lot, starting with the brothels of Mumbai, and has now emerged a torchbearer for transgender rights and plans to empower her community.
“I am aware of all the problems of being a transgender. Yet, I decided to lead a decent life and help others like me to come up in life,” says Priya Babu, a diploma holder.

After starting to work in an NGO in Mumbai, Priya Babu learnt leadership and communication skills. She came to Tamil Nadu to improve the living standards of the transgenders here.
She worked in Theni district to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS along with Tamil Nadu Aids Control Society. Then she switched roles to being an activist.

“I filed a writ petition along with my friends in the Madras High Court for voting rights for transgenders in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. We got justice and this encouraged us to take up other basic issues also,” she said.

Priya Babu and her team interacted with senior government officials and managed to get free houses for 15 transgenders in Kancheepuram district.

A care centre for transgenders was opened at Perungalathur — a reception centre for many runaway transgenders across the state.

The centre also has a facility to provide medical assistance to HIV-infected persons. Now Priya Babu is penning a book on the social history of transgenders in India. To wish Priya Babu ring 9283240764.

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