KOLLAM: Parvathy TS, 32, has many firsts to her credit. A resident of Urukunnu Girivarga colony, Punalur, she is the lone voter in Kollam district to vote this time as a transgender person. Belonging to the Hindu Malavedar tribe, she had to fight hard to come up in life.
Her steely resolve to prove transgender people can lead normal lives like anyone made her get her identity established through Aadhaar and election cards, and a job as a postman at Rosemala, a hilly terrain located in the Shendurney wildlife sanctuary. “I used to cast my vote as a male in the previous election. This time I am determined to do it as a transgender person,” says Parvathy. She just got her transgender Aadhaar card, the first TG to get it in Kollam. Parvathy is a little apprehensive about the delay in getting her TG election card. But she is hopeful of casting her vote after the voters’ list acknowledges her identity.
An activist for transgender rights, Parvathy wants to cast vote for better policies for TGs. “The LGBT community faces a lot of stigmatisation and abuse in society. My vote is for creating an equitable world for the community,” she says. According to her, only she made it to the voters’ list as a TG despite the fact there are around 400 TGs in the district alone. “It is because of the stigma that many refuse to be part of the election as TG. A lot of TGs migrated to Tamil Nadu and Kochi for want of better ecosystem here,” says Parvathy.
Parvathy had always wanted to become Parvathy ever since her birth. But when her identity became known to her family, she was subjected to beating as a ‘cure’ to the confusion. “As a TG I suffered a lot of abuse from society. I even made a suicide attempt as a teenager,” says Parvathy.
Despite all the setback, she studied in an ITI to obtain a diploma in plumbing after Plus Two and got a job as a postman using her male identity six years ago. Her job entails her to walk at least 30 km a day to deliver letters in the forest area. Often wild animals such as elephants, wolves and wild ox cross her path.
“I have taken a house on rent at Rosemala as travelling at night is dangerous here. I visit my mother Sumathy in Pulaur on weekends,” says Parvathy. According to her, people were apprehensive about her identity in the beginning . “Now they know I am a normal human being and I have found some acceptance,” she says.