Transgenders get set to walk the ramp at Sital Sasthi fashion show

Thus, the two Sital Sasthi committees have attempted to add a new dimension in that direction.
File photo of transgender fashion show by Bada Bazar Sasthi Committee in 2017.
File photo of transgender fashion show by Bada Bazar Sasthi Committee in 2017.

SAMBALPUR: While the participation of the transgenders in the baraat procession of Lord Shiva during the Sital Sasthi festival is an age-old custom, going a step further to set an example of inclusivity, two individual Sital Sasthi committees have organised fashion show for the third gender, ahead of the festival on Saturday.

Participation in mass festivals like Sital Sasthi provides the transgender community with a visible and respected role in society. It is a way for them to engage with the larger community and assert their identity and significance. Thus, the two Sital Sasthi committees have attempted to add a new dimension in that direction.

A member of the Gupteswar Baba Sital Sasthi Committee in Daleipara area said, “The objective is to give the transgender community a better visibility. While people attend the procession of the major committees in large numbers, the transgenders coming to perform at procession of other small committees do not get the deserved visibility. The fashion show is an effort to make them stand out from the usual crowd.”

He further said it will be held in the form of a competition and around 100 members of the third gender from the region are expected to participate. They will show their own creativity in dressing up and the winner will be rewarded with a token of appreciation. The show is scheduled on the evening of Sunday at Gangadhar Mandal in the city. “Though we are doing it for the first time, we aspire to expand it and make it widely known in the coming editions of the festival,” he added.

On the other hand, the Sitleswar Baba committee of Badabazar area is also organising a fashion show for the third gender on Sunday evening at Samaleswari Mandap near ring road. Buddhadev Pradhan from the cultural wing of the committee said they have been organising the third gender fashion show at a very small scale since last few years. “This year, around 30 members of the community will participate in the show from across Odisha and neighbouring states. Our objective is to make people aware about the rights of third-gender people and their need for dignity. We also felicitate them to boost their morals and inspire others in the community to live a life of respect,” he added.

The inclusion of transgender dancers in the Sital Sasthi procession reflects the festival’s all-embracing diversity and inclusivity. Besides, for many transgender individuals, performing at festivals and religious ceremonies is a source of income. The donations and gifts they receive during these events help support their livelihood.

Significance associated

  • Participation of transgenders in the Sital Sasthi procession is deeply rooted in cultural, religious, and social practices

  • In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is sometimes depicted in gender-fluid forms, such as Ardhanarishvara

  • It represents a composite form of Shiva and Parvati

  • Transgender individuals identify with these depictions

  • They see their participation in religious events as an embodiment of these divine qualities

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com