Sreevidhya Rajeev /Chennai , Dec 29(BPNS)
Tamil Nadu plays a prominent role in transgender well-being activities, In 2008 the state established a transgender welfare board. The Tamil Nadu government has also issued voting rights, food ration cards, as well as special identity cards for the transgender community. Regarding transgender welfare policy, the individuals come under this category can access free gender affirmation surgery in government hospitals. All these improvements are the result of the long fights and struggle to build their life and protect their rights.
Interestingly there is a temple exclusively for transgender community in Tamil Nadu. The yearly temple festival is known as the Koovagam festival, It is an annual festival of transgender. Koovagam, is a village located about 25 km away from Villupuram district. The festival takes place at Koothandavar Temple for eighteen days in the month of April/May. During this festival, a large number of transgenders are gathering there to worship lord koothandavar. The festival comprises numerous activities, programmes and cultural performances.
There are some notable personalities from the transgender community in Tamil Nadu, Kalki Subramaniam is a transgender rights activist, artist, actress, writer, inspirational speaker and entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu. She holds two master’s degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication and in International Relations. Kalki’s intervention and activities is a big boost for the community. Another inspiring character is Negha S the first trans person who won Kerala State Film Awards for the Malayalam movie Antharam. She is also a trained mental health counsellor who worked with various NGOs that work on transgender rights organizations in Tamil Nadu.
A new initiative from Kerala based Sathya Sai Dance Academy of Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust in association with an NGO Sahodaran, started a dance academy at Aminjikarai, Chennai to encourage the dancing talent of transgender community. A Bharatanatyam dance school under the auspicious of Sathya Sai Dance academy and Sahodharan offers a free dance training under the well known Bharatanatyam dancer Shanmuga Sundaram and the classes are held during every Sundays.
Vanitha a transwoman reminds us about an unchanged belief of people around us every industry is developing in our country and everything is in changing state but still, people are striving for their rights. Here a transwoman who had gone through a bad life experience as she didn’t get opportunity to learn an art form because of her identity. However Vanitha didn’t drop her dream and now she is an active performer in the invocation dance LGBTQIA+ community gatherings, government events and ceremonies and has also applied for Masters in Bharathanatyam at an institution which is based in Tamil Nadu.
Irrespective of political colour, successive governments in Tamil Nadu have been working towards the empowerment of transgenders. Apart from the government so many NGOs are working for the welfare of the transgender community in the state.