It’s celebration time for transgenders in the city as they gear up for the Koovagam Festival and Transgenders Day coming up later this month. This time, transgenders in the city have decided to show that the festival is not just about beauty contests but also a platform to display their intellectual side, with a heated debate competition.
The annual transgender festival, set to take place on April 23 in Koovagam near Villupuram, is usually a culmination of various competitions including the beauty contest that takes place the previous day. This year they have taken a step ahead to show they are not any less than others when it comes to debate and discussion.
The Transgenders Rights Association in the city will organise a debate on the topic ‘Development of transgender community needs: legal rights or recognition from society’. The discussion will have participation by teams from various districts. “We already have transgenders who excel at debate. With their help and with our network spread across the districts in the State, we will choose teams and give them an idea about the topic before they go in for the competition,” said Jeeva, president, Transgender Rights Association.
The community is also preparing itself for other competitions including the Miss Koovagam beauty contest, classical dance, where they will be accompanied by professional dancers, folk dance and awareness rallies.
“There will also be a beauty contest for the elderly,” said Noori of South India Positive Network. All these competitions will be organised by various transgender associations along with NGOs.
Transgenders Day on April 14 will have awareness programmes for the community on various government schemes and a resolution will be made on their demands.
‘Saving every penny for The Day’
Transgenders in the city are saving every penny possible to make sure the celebrations for the Koovagam festival leave everlasting memories.
To show that they are not any less than women when it comes to fashion, they will be splurging on clothes and accessories.
Pooja says she has been saving about `200 to `300 a week since August last year so she could buy her favourite sequined saree for evening wear. “I might participate in the beauty contest, so I thought I would buy a nice embroidered designer saree. Whatever little money I get from the work I do at night, I am saving it as this festival is important to me,” she says.
Like Pooja, others are gearing up for the annual festival as best they can. Harini says though she has no plan to be part of any beauty contest she will still wear clothes of the latest fashion, which she will buy the weekend before she leaves for Koovagam. “My costume this time will again be sarees. Last year I spent about `3000, this time I will spend double that money. This is a festival for us. This is where I can be me,” she says.
Aishwarya has saved money to buy the latest fashions and to go to the parlour. She says it’s that time of the year when she prepares herself to look her best. “This festival time is when I’ll do anything to look my best. I will be straightening my hair and I have already checked on what clothes I am going to buy,” says an excited Aishwarya.