Transgender Kanmani overcomes stigma to don lawyer’s robe

As her turn came, formally registering as an advocate, she felt her mission was half-complete.

Published: 04th December 2022 04:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2022 02:25 PM   |  A+A-

C Rajakumar, secretary of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, presents a memento to Kanmani. (Photo | Martin Louis, EPS)

C Rajakumar, secretary of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, presents a memento to Kanmani. (Photo | Martin Louis, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Joy knows no bounds for 22-year-old Kanmani as she donned the black gown and lined up in a serpentine queue outside the venue to enrol as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. In a sea of people in black robes eagerly waiting for their turn, only her gender separated her from the rest. As her turn came, formally registering as an advocate, she felt her mission was half-complete.

Her journey does not end with the enrolment. “I have been preparing for judicial service examinations. I am going for coaching at a private centre and want to become a judicial officer and serve society,” she added.

Her rise was not been easy as she had to face discrimination everywhere, even within her family. Born in a family of four sisters and brothers, she was discriminated against by her siblings owing to her gender. As a result, she has been living away from them in Chennai.

“They speak to me and give me some help, but they are not ready to accept me into the family due to my sexual orientation,” Kanmani said. But that has not bogged her down. “I motivate myself to keep focussed on achieving my dreams.”

Her decision to don the black rob was taken after her family could not hire a lawyer to fight a land dispute. “When I was a child, my family had to fight off a land dispute. My parents could not afford to hire a lawyer,” she recalls. “Since then, my mother was motivating me to become a lawyer,” she adds.

She told she was treated with respect by fellow students and faculty, particularly the principal of Dr Ambedkar Govt Law College, Pudupakkam. She said that she is the third transgender advocate to register with BCTN. The bar council had waived her enrolment fee as a gesture of support.



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