KOCHI: Giving impetus to the LGBT movement, the city's first transgender beauty school was opened last week. The institute, titled Dhwaya Beauty Academy, is aimed at teaching transgender people the art of makeup, thereby providing them with a livelihood. The institute offers a six-month beautician course, all free of cost. Renju Renjimar, makeup artist and head of the institute, said the course has been started in association with the Department of Social Justice.
"The course will help transgender people explore employment opportunities. We hope to bring them back to the mainstream as many are forced to do sex work to live. We have 140 students this year and there are two batches. We will be bringing in makeup artists from all over the state to conduct classes," added Renju. Each student will be given Rs 5000 per month as stipend. The accommodation is free. The admissions were carried out via community groups. "We have several Whatsapp and other forums for transgenders. The word about the school was spread and the interested candidates were chosen," says Renju.
The school is situated at Palarivattom and is inspired by Sahaj International School for Transgender community. "Though Sahaj failed to get a footing, we decided to do something on that lines. Dhwaya is an initiative on that lines. The only way to break stereotypes and solve the issues faced by transgenders is through education and initiatives like these are steps towards that goal," said Renju Renjimar.