CHENNAI: The fight for equality and social acceptance prevails even today for the transgender community with most of them forced to begging on the streets and or become sex workers. A lucky few, break out of the realm and fight for the rights as a third gender.
Prema, 28, is someone living a ‘normal’ life with her husband, Arunkumar whom she married eight years ago. Their college love story blossomed into marriage, but like any love marriage in India, they faced hurdles too. More so, since the groom decided to marry a person from the ‘other’ gender.
The couple got married in 2008. Prema had graduated first class in BCom in Corporate Secretaryship from the University of Madras while Arunkumar was pursuing MBA in shipping and logistics. Though he accepted her gender identity, there was resistance from his family. “My parents were hesitant initially. I was doing MBA and was set to take over my family business,” he said.
Despite family opposition and a set future at stake, they both got married. What followed was obvious. Arunkumar was thrown out of his family’s business. But on the other hand, there was support from Prema’s family. The couple married in a temple with only the bride’s family by their side, not even friends,
“Our friends didn’t accept us and thought that we wouldn’t last long. Now, after eight years, some of them drop by to meet us,” Arunkumar smirks.
He started his own business that is fairly successful. Prema works as a peer educator at Transgender Rights Association (TRA). With happy tears Prema said, “I have my family’s support and my husband’s affection. I hope every transgender gets a life they deserved.”
Concurs Jeeva, founder of TRA, and adds, “Transgenders deserve a life with dignity and happiness. I hope the day arrives when the society treats us with respect and accepts us.”