MADURAI: Jeyachitra, Rubika, and 13 other transpersons started a new chapter in their life with the inauguration of their restaurant here on Friday. Madurai Trans Kitchen located at Panagal Salai near Government Rajaji Hospital in Goripalayam, is a first-of-its-kind restaurant in the district run and managed by transpersons. A similar initiative had begun functioning in Coimbatore last year, run by 10 transpersons.
The Madurai team had been running a catering service, Nambu Nayaki Amman Catering Service, for the past few years at Ulaganeri until the pandemic hit. Just like other businesses, they were forced into a dry spell. It was then that the idea of a restaurant dawned upon them. With support from organisations such as Arghyam, Vritti Livelihood Impact Partner, Swasti, SLPMS and SELCO Foundation, they were able to set up the venture.
Although they got money from sponsors, no ‘gentlemen’ from the city was ready to rent out a building for them to run the business. “We ran from pillar to post for four months, until we met one Arunkumar Menon, who gave us the building,” said Jeyachitra (43). “We are happy as the restaurant is near Government Rajaji Hospital. People who come here can have quality food at decent price,” Jeyachitra added. At a time, the restaurant can seat 20 persons.
Rubika (28), one among the 15 transpersons, said the work is equally shared among all of them, from preparation of food to supplying it and collecting bills. Though the restaurant has given a new colour to their life, Rubika said they would continue to run the catering service for it provided them a platform to rise.
All of them, although hailing from different areas, stay together as a family in Ulaganeri. The restaurant was inaugurated by Collector Dr S Aneesh Sekhar. Sub Judge/Secretary of District Legal Services Authorities, V Deepa, was present at the function.