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Kerala hounds out its transgender community

in INDIA, 26/02/2013

Living in Kerala as a transperson, someone who identifies with a gender different from that assigned at birth, is an experience filled with trauma. Boys who dress in women’s clothing or girls who identify themselves as male are either bullied or dismissed casually. When they grow up and assert their gender identities, relatives often turn hostile and banish transpersons from their homes.

“There are no transgenders in Kerala,” says a social welfare officer in the State. Immediately, he clarifies what he was trying to convey through this shocking statement – that transpeople in the State have been oppressed to the point of invisibility. “There are few people in the State who come out openly about their transgender identity. Our society simply does not accept transgenders,” he says.

Many transgenders in Kerala migrate to cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, or Delhi as people in their home State do not accept them. But life isn’t easy for a transperson there either. They are forced into begging or prostitution as they find no other means of livelihood. Working with NGOs is now another option before transpersons.

Gee Ameena Suleiman is a transperson hailing from Thrissur. Named Gayatri at birth, Suleiman now writes about trans-identity and has also made a documentary advocating the rights of transpersons.

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