At Hindu’s temple festival, a story of acceptance

A group of transgenders has been helping out at different temples in the area for the past two years Photo: R. RaguFor the first time ever, a transgender organised the festivities at 58-year-old Aadhi Thulir Kavalathamman Temple in Vaikuntapuram, near Valluvar Kottam.

The festival at the temple began on Friday and drew to a close on Sunday.

For the past month, M.S. Ragini, along with a team of young men from the area, has been collecting funds for the festival. She also arranged for food and organised other events.

Two of her transgender friends, Papitha and Sulochana, from the neighbourhood have also been helping her, says Ragini.

According to Papitha, the three of them have been helping out at different temples in the area for the past two years.

R.M. Krishnan, who has been conducting the temple festival for the past 35 years, says, “Normally, transgender persons are not allowed to play such a big role during temple festivities, but now, since we have accepted Ragini, there has been no objection from others to her organising the events.”

Ragini, a resident of Vaikuntapuram, says she knew she was different from other children, from the age of 10.

“When I changed my name from Rajesh Kannan to Ragini, my family took some time to come to terms with it,” she says. And initially, there was some opposition to her staying in the neighbourhood.

“But, this year, I realised how much society has accepted me. I only wish other transgender persons too would get the same level of acceptance,” she says.

Social acceptance

C. Swetha of Born 2 Win Social Welfare, a non-governmental organisation, says, “This kind of social acceptance is rare and, hopefully, a sign of things to come. There are many people from the transgender community who are forced to leave their homes and their families. So, when one hears of social acceptance, it is heart-warming.”

Source: The Hindu