Love in the time of stigma: Transwoman breaks barriers to wed boyfriend at TN temple

Lakshmanan was working as a set constructor in the Hindi film industry and Amrita, a graduate, at a cosmetic store. After having spent a year together, they recently decided to get married.

Published: 09th August 2019 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2019 04:39 PM   |  A+A-

The couple Amrita and Lakshmanan after their marriage | Express

Express News Service

CUDDALORE: The concept of gender identity continues to puzzle the majority, creating hassles for those who do not identify with the assigned gender. When 27-year-old transwoman Amrita and her boyfriend Lakshmanan decided to get married, they were not aware of the hurdles that would come in their way. Amrita, a native of Cuddalore, met Lakshmanan through Facebook, about a year ago.

The duo was working in Mumbai then — Lakshmanan as a set constructor in the Hindi film industry and Amrita, a graduate, at a cosmetic store. After having spent a year together, they recently decided to get married. “It was I who suggested we tie the knot at Devanathaswamy temple,” says Amrita. “Many transwomen get married, but very few register the marriage. I was particular that we get our marriage registered.”

Amrita says when she approached the temple, authorities told her they do not perform the ceremony for transgender people. “They turned down our request on August 5, while we had set the date as August 7.” The couple then approached the District Collector. “The collector instructed officials to make arrangements, but still, the temple management refused to budge,” says Amrita. 

“They asked to submit legal documents to prove that the government had ‘approved’ our marriage.” The couple then approached a lawyer, who clarified there was no legal hurdle to tying the knot. Still, the temple management refused to perform the ceremony.   

“Finally, on August 6, we reached out to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Trust (HR&CE) in Cuddalore. Officials from there spoke with the temple management and they yielded. We got married on the date we planned,” says Amrita. While Lakshmanan’s parents are yet to accept the fact that their son married a transwoman, Amrita’s parents supported them. “Nevertheless, I am happy,” says Amrita.

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