Let Transgender Decide on Place of Stay: HC

MADURAI: She faced torture and discrimination, not just from her teacher and headmaster and the warden of a girls’ home, but also from her own parents, who could not reconcile with her alternate sexuality. Sangavi, a young transgender, finally received a reprieve on Friday from the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which allowed her to be with whoever she wished.

Sangavi (19) appeared in person before a Division Bench comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and N Kirubakaran on Friday, after learning through newspapers that her parents had filed a habeas corpus petition. She reached the court with the help of transgender activist Bharathi Kannamma.

“Nobody kidnapped me; I ran away from home in October, unable to withstand the torture inflicted on me by my parents,” she told the judges.

After escaping from their custody, she was begging for a living at Manapparai railway station in Tiruchy district for the past one month, she said.

Sangavi’s grandfather had willed some properties in her name when she was child. However, as she grew up to transform into a woman, she refused to accept the masculine identity, which infuriated her parents — Moorthy and Backiyam — from Chinnamanoor in Theni. “They demanded that the property in my name be transferred to them. When I refused, they confined me in a room, and beat me up after tying my hands and legs,” she told the court. That was when she had run away from home for the second time. 

In her earlier attempt, she had met transgenders Banu and Kanga at their house in Alli Nagaram in Theni on July 28, who produced her before the police the next day.

“At that time itself, my parents produced a forged date of birth certificate declaring my birth date as 25.5.1998 as against the original date 25.5.1997, and sent me to Rejoice Children’s Home in Theni,” she said.

But things only took a turn for the worse for her there, she told the bench.

She explained to the bench how the director of the home tortured her sexually, which prompted her to escape and return to her own home.

After hearing her out, Justice Ramasubramanian examined the birth certificate documents submitted by the government prosecutor.

“I doubt its credibility because it was hand written by some person,” he noted.

Then, her advocate A Kannan told the court that all her original certificates such as SSLC and other original certificates were available with her parents.

This prompted the Justice Kirubakaran to ask whether she would like to stay with her parents. But she refused.

The Bench then allowed her to stay at the Bharati Kannamma Trust as per her wish.

Also the bench warned the police and her family not to harass Sangavi hereafter.

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The New Indian Express