Ms. Priyababu 1
Social History of
Thirunangai
Community
in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu
2 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
© Priyababu
...
Ms. Priyababu 3
DedicationDedicationDedicationDedicationDedication
To
my Thirunangai sisters
and social workers
who worked...
4 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
‘Hey onpathu’ [literally means ‘nine’ – derogatory term]
A soul wh...
Ms. Priyababu 5
Society which do not cheat
Doubtless embracement
Mother who does not reject
Father who does not isolate
Th...
6 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Among this crowd of people who lives without
meaningful principles...
Ms. Priyababu 7
Her boldness, smile, punctuality, activeness always
deserve my admiration, prayer, and pride.
I am waiting...
8 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 9
Many events ensure that Tamil Nadu
(TN) has always been instrumental in initiating
dialogues for several s...
10 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
In this way, many people from different walks of life
including t...
Ms. Priyababu 11
literatures in TN such as book chapters, small stories,
newspaper articles, and websites.
My sincere than...
12 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 13
1. Thirunangais in Tamil Literatures
and Theology 15
2. Social Structure of Thirunangais in
TamilNadu 21
...
14 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 15
TTTTThirhirhirhirhirunangunangunangunangunangais inais inais inais inais in
TTTTTamil literamil literamil...
16 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 17
The origin of Tamil literatures can be traced even
before 2000 years ago. ‘Tholkappium’ written by Tholka...
18 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
God - Arthanareeswarar
Many books relating to Hindu religion ment...
Ms. Priyababu 19
It can be noted from these events in Hindu mythology that
gender transformation was always supported by g...
20 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
“We keep apart a portion of every day earnings for
Nagoor god. At...
Ms. Priyababu 21
Social structure of
Thirunangais
in Tamil Nadu
22 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 23
Each community has got their own social structure,
customs & traditions, and festivals as their social id...
24 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
ChennaiThirunangaicommunitystructure:
Ms. Priyababu 25
the mother and mother-in law play a very prominent role.
‘Sister in law’ relationship is found to be a fr...
26 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
respective districts. Velore District Thirunangaigal Sangam
in Ve...
Ms. Priyababu 27
the same village often extend their support for community
empowerment. Besides, the rapport of nayaks wit...
28 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
also adequately focus on their livelihood rights,
community devel...
Ms. Priyababu 29
30 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Koovagam festival
Koovagam festival
Ms. Priyababu 31
Occupations
Many Thirunangais have involved in several
occupations for many years in TN. Specifically, ma...
32 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
ErodeKaragaattamDancers
Ms. Priyababu 33
Moreover many Thirunangais were engaged in
folk arts in Erode and other Southern districts such as
Madura...
34 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
ThappaattamTraining
Ms. Priyababu 35
“There are many literate Thirunangais. If the
government arranges job for people like us many
Thirunangai...
36 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 37
Role of Tamil
community in the
development of
Thirunangai
communities
38 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 39
Many media and oral records ensure that many
social agencies, Thirunangai community agencies, social
acti...
40 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
and transgender were identified in 1992-1993’s and were
involved ...
Ms. Priyababu 41
be noted in these organizations founded by community
themselves for their development. While Asha Bharath...
42 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
pageant show
with the financial
support of
TANSACS and
APAC.
In 2...
Ms. Priyababu 43
Only after interacting with her, she herself disclosed that she
was TG-women. Before that I did not have ...
44 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
“As a human rights activist, I got opportunity to
participate in ...
Ms. Priyababu 45
opinions of mainstream communities about Thirunangais.
Besides, this initiated dialogues and discussions ...
46 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
2006 -1st Trangender Rally
Ms. Priyababu 47
In 2006, THAA, SWAM, and Sangama organized a
large-scale public rally of same-sex attracted men and trans...
48 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Globe convened a public hearing to document violence faced
by Thi...
Ms. Priyababu 49
them to the
Jury. Also,
needs and
expectations
of Thirunangai
communities
werediscussed
in the hearing.
F...
50 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Lions Club which addresses the self-employment needs
of Thirunang...
Ms. Priyababu 51
concept about Thirunangais in the minds of police officials
and made them to accept Thirunangai as fellow...
52 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
organized. In this there were discussions between literature
writ...
Ms. Priyababu 53
Role of
political parties in
Thirunangai
Community
Development
54 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 55
In 1998, a national plan of action was developed to
combat “trafficking and commercial sexual exploitatio...
56 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
made several recommendations that include: sex
reassignment surge...
Ms. Priyababu 57
Thirunangai-Specific Welfare Schemes by TGWB
TG-specific schemes are those that are formulated
and funded...
58 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 59
Thirunangais
in
Tamil Media
60 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Often many media of TN documented a variety of
information relati...
Ms. Priyababu 61
activists. Radhika, S. Samuthiram Transgender Welfare
Organization, Thiruvanamalai; N. Muthukumar, Lotus
...
62 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Thirunangais meant primarily for sex/work. Experience and
experti...
Ms. Priyababu 63
in TN’in 2005 with the support of National FolkArts resource
center. This film accurately documented many...
64 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Mr.Elangoven, showcased the feelings , sufferings and the
ways by...
Ms. Priyababu 65
initiated their thoughts about their community development.
Social views and expectation of Thirunangai c...
66 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Print media
In Tamil Nadu, writings always played a very
signific...
Ms. Priyababu 67
‘Unarvum uruvamum’. This was the first book written by
Thirunangai writers. In this, stories of many Thir...
68 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Similarly, many writers wrote about Thirunangai
in Tamil. That in...
Ms. Priyababu 69
Aruna’ s ‘Kallippu’, Thirunangai sudha’ s ‘Endru
Vidiyum’ was a few among those stories written by
Thirun...
70 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
about expectations of Thirunangai communities. Their
participatio...
Ms. Priyababu 71
of Thirunangais, birth of Thirunangais, mental status of
parents of Thirunangais, and expectations of Thi...
72 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 73
Reference list
74 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
Ms. Priyababu 75
Books
1.Tamil Illakiyathil Aravanigal. V. Munis Jeyam
Publication, Kolluveerampatti. (2008)
2.Ethirolikku...
76 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
14.Gomathi, ThamilNaduAravanigalAssociation
15.Mayilai Balu, Tami...
Ms. Priyababu 77
Government orders (G.O) issued by Social welfare
and nutritious meal programme department relating to
TG ...
78 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
1. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-
tamilnadu...
Ms. Priyababu 79
15. http://theangels.co.uk/2009/07/a-transgender-star-
sparkles -in-indias-tv-firmament/
1 6 . h t t p : ...
80 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
30.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 5 / 1 8 /...
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English book work priya - Social History of thirunangai community in TamilNadu

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இந்த நூல் தமிழ்கத்தில் திருநங்கையர் சமூக வரலாற்றின் ஆங்கில பதிப்பு. இந்த நூல் தமிழகத்தில் கடந்த 20 ஆண்டுகளாக அரசியல் சினிமா, ஊடகம் ,சமூக அமைப்புகள் ,தனிநபர் என திருநங்கை சமூகத்தில் நிகழ்ந்த சமூக பொருளாதார ,சட்ட மேம்பாடுகளை ஆய்வு செய்து எழுதப்பட்ட நூல் ஆகும் .கிட்டதட்ட 10 மாதங்கள் தமிழகத்தின் பல பகுதிகளில் ஆய்வு மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது

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English book work priya - Social History of thirunangai community in TamilNadu

  1. 1. Ms. Priyababu 1 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Ms. Priyababu
  2. 2. 2 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu © Priyababu thaapriya@gmail.com 9283240764 FirstEdition 2012 Designing K.Maniezhilan 9884933307 Printed by Sri Vignesh Printers, Ashok Nagar, Chennai - 83 Pages / 96 This publication is not for sale. This is released with the support of UNDP-India
  3. 3. Ms. Priyababu 3 DedicationDedicationDedicationDedicationDedication To my Thirunangai sisters and social workers who worked for Thirunangai community development...
  4. 4. 4 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu ‘Hey onpathu’ [literally means ‘nine’ – derogatory term] A soul which often gets ill treated by this word ‘Hey two in one’ A soul which feels the pain of thousand thunders have fallen on their heads by this word ‘My family accepted me’ A soul which is waiting for this word Who is this soul? It is none other than Thirunangais who inhale the same air that we inhale, who live in the world that we live, who eat, sleep, awake, and spend every dawn like us She gets sun like us. She gets moon. She gets stars. She gets rain, sun light, and storm. Similarly, she gets a lot of society’s abusive looks and words. The things that they miss include: Meaningful love Supportive family Bonded relationship Friend in support Overwhelming love Unlimited help Third world war
  5. 5. Ms. Priyababu 5 Society which do not cheat Doubtless embracement Mother who does not reject Father who does not isolate There is a world for men There is a world for women There is a world for Thirunangais too. This book… Third world war Generally wars happen with help of weapons There is no strong weapon like abusive language. Priya Babu is the leader of the third world. She charges with words of weapons. We stand without support by putting our face down out of shyness. Do you know why? Our sisters are succeeding after bearing patiently all our abuses and hurts. Guilty sense disturbs us while saying that their world becomes green after bearing patiently all our hot weapons without our love and compassion. Heart drowns without answers. The stories that we have heard so far include fictions, told stories, untold stories and cooked-up stories. In this book, Priya Babu says true stories. While she expresses and narrates about themselves, their successes, agencies and activities, and the thorns that they have crossed, it sounds high in voice. Before - we failed to hear smooth voice, We forgot to hear smooth voice and did not like it. Now, if we reject to hear this high sounding voice, we might become good for nothing. Instead of becoming useless soul of either human or beast, we can gently let the words, information, data, and historical events of this book into our heart.
  6. 6. 6 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Among this crowd of people who lives without meaningful principles although they have born incomplete, Thirunangais determine their own ways, strategize for their future, they build their own haven and remove their thorns. Although their birth, life, relationship and world around them became issues, they taught us life management that eliminates innumerable problems. Among them there is thirst for words, speech, leadership, social responsibility & moreover the thirst for life and survival. They are not impotents who destroy life for the sake of unrestricted reasons such as letting the thorns, not getting appropriate colours, and not buying costly foot wears. They are people who have won God, nature, and themselves. They are mothers who conceive, procreate, and protect themselves. They are the new God who performs all three duties of god – Creation, Protection & Destruction. These new age Bharathis march forward with boldness in heart, straight-forwardness, fearless thought, proud walk, to cussed look with ethics. Let us leave the way for them or Walk together ! Join together ! As sky belong to them as well Earth is for them as well Air is for them as well They are activists who work for their community They are humanist who raise voice for their community Priyababu – a stern hard worker who gives herself for the community The silent history of marginalized holy people and unheard individuals are being spoken now. Their dark life is being exposed into light now. For these, Priyababu is the forerunner.
  7. 7. Ms. Priyababu 7 Her boldness, smile, punctuality, activeness always deserve my admiration, prayer, and pride. I am waiting to see Priya’ s many achievements and writings that may deserve awards. Thousands of best wishes in advance. With Love Andaal Priyadarshini
  8. 8. 8 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  9. 9. Ms. Priyababu 9 Many events ensure that Tamil Nadu (TN) has always been instrumental in initiating dialogues for several social changes in several periods. History of TN traces efforts taken by Periyar, shortly known as E.V.R to bring social reforms by advocating all his life against un- touchability and for women’s freedom from bondage.Also, it can be noted in the history of TN thatPeraringnarAnna’svoicesforsocialjusticeand social freedom of oppressed communities which later became a movement and brought a new episode in the political history of TN. Mid-day meal program initiated by Thiru. Kamarajar (called with respect as the leader of the poor) helped poor and downtrodden students in continuing school education. Later in the period of former honorable Chief Minister Thiru. M. G. R, free meal program led Tamil Nadu to be one among the few pioneer states in India for ensuring children to complete primary education. Introduction
  10. 10. 10 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu In this way, many people from different walks of life including the Community Leaders have been working sincerely for traditionally marginalized and oppressed Thirunangai communities to mark their own identity inTamil history. Notably, All IndiaAligal Sangam founded by Thirunangai NooriAmma in 1996 was the first organization to work for transgenders at national level. Similarly, Thamil NaduAravanigalAssociation (THAA) founded by Ms.Asha Bharathi and Ms. KirubhaAmma in 1998 was the first community organization in TN to address health and economic needs of Thirunangais. Besides, many Thirunangais prove their mettle by playing dominant roles such as Revathi and Living Smile Vidya in writings, Kalki and Rose in media, Narthagi Natraj and Ponni indance,JeevaandBharathiKannamainsocialworkbymaking their contribution in respective fields of activities. As a result of many innovative efforts taken by many social activists over the period of many years, the mainstream population became aware of the social structures, lifestyle, issues, concerns, expectations, and emotions of Thirunangai communities. This resulted in establishment of good relationship between Thirunangai communities and mainstream communities. Besides, this helped many Thirunangai activists to strategize their advocacy activities in partnership with mainstream communities. Initiation of Transgender welfare board by TN government for the growth of Thirunangai community was the greatest outcome of advocacy activities of Thirunangai communities which tentatively was begun in 1990’s. The book ‘Thirunangai movement in TN’ was written with the primary objective of documenting all the events resulted in social recognition of Thirunangai communities along with mainstream community and the Community Leaders were instrumental for those events. To write this book, we personally interviewed about 20 people belonging to different fields. Besides, we compiled information from many Thirunangai communities-related
  11. 11. Ms. Priyababu 11 literatures in TN such as book chapters, small stories, newspaper articles, and websites. My sincere thanks to Ernest Norohora, and Ms.Alka Narang (UNDP) for their support. I thank Dr. Venkatesan Chakrapani, Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP), for his valuable inputs and guidance in conceptualization of content, compiling of information, schedulingandconductingin-depthinterviews.IthankD.Dinesh Kumar, ResearchAssistant, for translating this book which was originally written in Tamil and translated in English by assisting incompilingofinformationandbookchapters. IthankMr.Ruban Nelson (C-SHaRP) who did Tamil typing of the book and Mr. Murali Edwin who provided guidance to write several compiled information appropriately. I thank Mr. Murali Shunmugam (C-SHARP) who guided me in several aspects. Finally, wholeheartedly I thank all Community Leaders and Thirunangai community friends for their full pledged support in successful completion of this book. Yours, PriyaBabu
  12. 12. 12 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  13. 13. Ms. Priyababu 13 1. Thirunangais in Tamil Literatures and Theology 15 2. Social Structure of Thirunangais in TamilNadu 21 3. Role of Tamil Community in the Development of Thirunangai Communities 37 4. Role of Political Parties in Thirunangai Community Development 53 5. Thirunangais in Tamil Media 59 6. Reference List 67 Content
  14. 14. 14 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  15. 15. Ms. Priyababu 15 TTTTThirhirhirhirhirunangunangunangunangunangais inais inais inais inais in TTTTTamil literamil literamil literamil literamil literaaaaaturturturturtureseseseses andandandandand TTTTTheoloheoloheoloheoloheologggggyyyyy
  16. 16. 16 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  17. 17. Ms. Priyababu 17 The origin of Tamil literatures can be traced even before 2000 years ago. ‘Tholkappium’ written by Tholkapiar found to be identified as the most traditional Tamil grammar book. ‘Tholkappium’ was found to be the first literature in Tamil to mention about trans-gender communities.This book documented about Thirunangai identity in the chapter ‘sol’ [literally means ‘word’], section 4: “People who transformed their masculinity”. Besides, in chapter 12, the author mentioned that “People who surrendered their masculinity should not be mentioned as ‘man’.” It can be understood that according to Tholkapiar that people who surrender masculinity shall need to be seen as woman. It can be understood that even in the period of Tholkapiar there were existence of Thirunangai communities and discussions/dialogue -about their body language, gender identity, and sexual identities - were initiated by many Tamil poets and writers. After the period of Tholkapiar the word ‘pedu’ [literally means ‘impotent’] was in existence to refer Thirunangai communities. This can be traced in the poem of Avaiyar. The poetess looked the gender transformation as biological flaw. TheTamil grammar book titled ‘Thivaakara Nikandu’ mentioned about Thirunangai identity, body language, activities and lifestyle. Tamil fictions came after that found to refer Thirunangai communities as ‘Ali’. Some poems categorized god into three genders – male, female and ‘Ali’. Fictions period found to be golden period for Thirunangai communities as it looked at with great respect, treated as human, and even compared them with god. Moreover, specifications about Thirunangai transgender communities can be seen in the select epics: Silappathikaram, Manimekalai, and Seevaga Sinthamani. In Silappathikaram, there were descriptions about 12 different types of dances of Madhavi. One among those was ‘pedi koothu’ [literally means ‘impotence’ dance].
  18. 18. 18 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu God - Arthanareeswarar Many books relating to Hindu religion mentions about Thirunangai communities. Notably, there were specifications about Thirunangai communities in astrology. Some planets and stars are named as ‘Ali’ [identity or label used to refer Thirunangai communities before some years. Now it is considered as derogatory label]. Besides, events of male god assuming form of female can be noted in Hindu mythology. God Vishnu took form of Mohini [beautiful women]. Lord Vishnu took the form of female and save birth of god Ayappa. And, while sacrificing Arvan for the sake of success in war, again Lord Vishnu took the form of female.
  19. 19. Ms. Priyababu 19 It can be noted from these events in Hindu mythology that gender transformation was always supported by god and it was seen as equivalent to the status of supreme power/god. Furthermore, even now after 41 days of sincere fasting, Thirunangais visit Sabari Malai [a temple situated in the hill station of Kerala] to worship LordAyappa. In many northern districts of TN especially Chennai, Kancheepuram, and Vellore many Thirunangais administer their own Angalamman temple and predict and reveal the future for the devotees visiting those temples. Just like Hindu religion, Thirunangai communities were often accepted in Islamic religion also. Many Thirunangais across TN used to visit Nagoor – ‘santhana koodu’ [literally means sandal cage] festival organized by Muslims every year. Also flavour of Islamic culture can be seen in most of the practices and ceremonies of Thirunangai communities like paal function followed by sex transition operation. While TransgenderArchana belonging to Erode District Thirunangaigal Sangam explaining about this: Chrissmass Function
  20. 20. 20 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu “We keep apart a portion of every day earnings for Nagoor god. At the end of each year, with that money, we buy 101 or 501 mud pots depending upon our capacity and fill them with food items. After praying to god by presenting those mud pots, we offer all mud pots/food to poor people except ‘one’. We bring the remaining ‘one’ to our home as we see it as “fortune.” Similarly, Christian missionaries consistently work for Thirunangai communities. CSI church based in Chennai work for socio-economic development of Thirunangai communities. Some Thirunungais got attracted to Christian religion and have chosen Christianity. While Thirunangai Ester Bharathi explaining about this: “ “Now I offer service in ECI as pastor. This is the first time Thirunangai in female attire admitted in congregation. This is my long time dream. Father Immanuvel helped me to join in Bible College.After 4 years of studies, he appointed me as pastor in Natarajapuram village. People honour with me, good respect. They invite me for their family functions.”
  21. 21. Ms. Priyababu 21 Social structure of Thirunangais in Tamil Nadu
  22. 22. 22 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  23. 23. Ms. Priyababu 23 Each community has got their own social structure, customs & traditions, and festivals as their social identity. Similarly, Thirunangai communities defined their own social structure quite long ago and live accordingly. Among this, mother-daughter relationship exists in Chennai and jamath system exists in other districts (excluding Chennai) of TN. That is the root cause for family system of Thirunangais in TN. Most of the Thirunangais in TN have affiliation to this family system. Chennai Thirunangai community structure: In Chennai, the capital city of TN and in its outskirts, Thirunangai family system known as madras jamath exists even now. Just like mainstream population, relationships such as mother-daughter, aunty-daughter in-law exist in Thirunangai communities. While senior Thirunangai and president of TRA (Transgender Rights Association) expressed about Thirunangai community structure and ritual: “Mother-daughter relationship exists among Thirunangais in Chennai. In districts like Kancheepuram, Guru-Chela relationship exists. They [Thirunangais community] create mother-daughter relationship through a ceremony known as – madikatrathu [literally means tie to stomach]. If a kothi [young transgender] comes to our home, [some senior transgender] will adopt her as daughter by paying Rs. 5 [to jamath]. This happens traditionally.” Casual life style without any authoritarianism and oppression is seen in this social structure followed by Thirunangais which often resembles the families of mainstream communities. Consequently, concept sharing happens in this system smoothly without any hurdles. Besides relationships such as mother, mother-in law, aunts are seen as more responsible in the family. In child adoption ceremony and rituals followed after sex transition surgeries,
  24. 24. 24 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu ChennaiThirunangaicommunitystructure:
  25. 25. Ms. Priyababu 25 the mother and mother-in law play a very prominent role. ‘Sister in law’ relationship is found to be a friendly relationship to share feelings. Thirunangais who got many family responsibilities like this, live in many places of Chennai as joint or small family. As there is space for mutual sharing, there is always scope to discuss about their present community status and future directions. Moreover, many Thirunangais belonging to this family system regardless of their age, and relationship work in Thirunangai CBO (such as THAA AND TRA), MSM CBO (such as SWAM and Sahodran) and NGOs (ARM and ICWO). Community people who worked for community development have initiated many discussions relating to community development. Furthermore, it can be said that Thirunangai communities have always taken up new changes and concepts. Hyderabad and TamilNadu jamath system Presently, social structure called as Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu Jamath system prevails in all districts of TN excluding Chennai. In Hyderabad, Jamath contains two divisions – badae hawali and choatae hawali. From Hyderabad this practice spread across South India. While a senior Thirunangai named Sinthamani Amma based in Koovagam village of Villupuram district expressed about spread of this practice in TN: “Thirunangais from Hyderabad used to visit Nagoor “santhana koodu” festival. They used to worship in mosque and participate in kawali singing events. They also adopted Tamil Nadu Thirunangais to their respective houses. These adoption events happened in Nagoor mosque.” People who were selected based on this practice became nayak for the respective district. They used to play major role in the development of Thirunangai communities in their respective districts. Many nayaks in Thirunangai have formed social welfare organizations for socio-economic empowerment of Thirunangai communities in their
  26. 26. 26 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu respective districts. Velore District Thirunangaigal Sangam in Velore, Erode Mavatta Thirunangaigal Nalan nadum Sangam in Erode, and TamilNadu Thirunangaigal Association (THAA) in Kancheepuram are some of the notable organizations led by Nayaks. While KirubhaAmma, Jamath leader and secretary of THAA explaining about activities of THAA: “My organization works for Thirunangai infected by HIV. Community care centre run by us is being funded by TamilNadu State AIDS Control society. Besides, we run Thirunangai self help groups.” Often these social organizations serve as platform to discuss about issues faced by Thirunangai communities and devise plan for social development.Also, existence of nayaks and most Thirunangai individuals in the same districts where they were born (without migrating for survival) along with family members, friends, and relatives living in TamilNadu jamath system
  27. 27. Ms. Priyababu 27 the same village often extend their support for community empowerment. Besides, the rapport of nayaks with influential persons in multiple departments and their understanding/knowledge about local socio-political context often help to devise plan for community development. Furthermore, existence of some young Thirunangais as nayaks with considerable educational qualification of many nayaks often facilitates them to live and work casually with mainstream communities. Festivals Koovagam festival celebrated for God Aravan in Villupuram district is the biggest festival for Thirunangai communities in Tamil Nadu. LordAravan was sacrificed to Goddess Kali in Mahabharatha battle field for the Sake of Pandavas success. Based on the last wish expressed by Aravan before death: “One night family relationship with a girl after marriage”, Pandavas searched for a bride.As none came forward to marryAravan who would die soon after the marriage, Lord Krishna took form of Mohini [beautiful women] and married Aravan. After one night relationship, Aravan was sacrificed to Kali as decided and Mohini assumed the form of widow. In the festival celebrated based on the story, Thirunangai communities who change themselves like Krishna from man to woman come together to marry Aravan in night and next morning would assume the form of widow. Many TG communities across the globe can be seen in these festivals celebrated since many years. Just like some mainstream festivals such as Diwali and Pongal, Thirunangai communities would wear new dress and celebrate this festival with other peers. On the eve of this festival, rallies, book release, documentary film festivals, and HIV prevention-related events are organized. In these festivals, in addition to Thirunangais coming together, it can be seen that they
  28. 28. 28 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu also adequately focus on their livelihood rights, community development, and social recognition. Financial support provided by HIV agencies such as TamilNadu State AIDS Control Societies/AIDS Prevention and Control Project and participation/ involvement of many political leaders in the festival shows that many stakeholders were involved in Thirunangai community development. In temple festival organized in many districts of TN, entire Thirunangai communities used to participate and show their involvement. Specifically, Thirunangai communities would participate in festivals such as Erode Bannari Amman festival, Sathur Irukkankudi temple festival, Trichy Samayapuram festival, Melmalaiyanur Angalamman festival. Moreover, in new- year and Christmas functions organized by Christian missionaries, Thirunangais would often participate. All these reveal that there is always spiritual-based acceptance to exist for Thirunangai communities in TN. Koovagam temple festival
  29. 29. Ms. Priyababu 29
  30. 30. 30 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Koovagam festival Koovagam festival
  31. 31. Ms. Priyababu 31 Occupations Many Thirunangais have involved in several occupations for many years in TN. Specifically, many Thirunangai cook experts live in the important districts of TN such as Coimbatore, Karur, Salem, and Chennai. Thirunangai idli shops functioned in Chennai Vysarpadi and Salem could be seen as foundation for social change. While Thirunangai cook expert Kavitha from Coimbatore explains about her profession and experience in working with mainstream communities: “Thudiyalor nearby Coimbatore district is my native place. Now I am taking cooking orders and offering service. Initially, I worked as cook assistant to a senior Thirunangai person Mathanamma based in Coimbatore. Initially people looked-down upon us with a big question in mind – would employing Thirunangai as cook of work? Later we got orders by sensitizing them. Now they are ready to offer orders after knowing our food taste. We have employed some women in our cooking team.” cook experts from Coimbatore
  32. 32. 32 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu ErodeKaragaattamDancers
  33. 33. Ms. Priyababu 33 Moreover many Thirunangais were engaged in folk arts in Erode and other Southern districts such as Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dhindigul, and Theni. While some Thirunangais dance in temple festivals and political party functions, some offer oppari (mourning songs) in death ceremony. It can be understood from Thirunangai involving in such occupations, that mainstream people have accepted Thirunangais as one among them. Besides, by engaging in these occupations, Thirunangais get adequate opportunities to interact with general community. This result in general community understanding about lifestyle, social issues, and expectations of Thirunangai communities. However, in some districts including Chennai, many Thirunangais engage in Mangthi and begging. While Thirunangai Maanu explains about alternative employment opportunities: Thirunangai Dancers in Goverment function
  34. 34. 34 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu ThappaattamTraining
  35. 35. Ms. Priyababu 35 “There are many literate Thirunangais. If the government arranges job for people like us many Thirunangais might not enter into sex work and begging. Only a few Thirunangai get job in social organizations. So many of us engage in sex work and begging, although not interested.” Lack of employment opportunities for Thirunangai even in cities like Chennai is the primary reason for Thirunangais engaging in sex work and begging. Only very few Thirunangai have succeeded securing job in some industry by their special talents. Thirunangai carnatic dancer Narthagi who won Sakith Natak Academy Award – 2011 in the line of many legends including Bala Saraswathi and Leela Semsan can be seen as epitome.
  36. 36. 36 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  37. 37. Ms. Priyababu 37 Role of Tamil community in the development of Thirunangai communities
  38. 38. 38 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  39. 39. Ms. Priyababu 39 Many media and oral records ensure that many social agencies, Thirunangai community agencies, social activists, and voluntary groups work for Thirunangai community welfare and development. In 1990’s Thirunangai communities were stigmatized and discriminated by mainstream communities. As there were no trans-gender legal rights and social recognition, in our constitution, in some districts many Thirunangais engaged in sex work and begging for their livelihood. Besides Thirunangai communities settled in the select areas of TN due to lack of awareness about Thirunangais among mainstream populations. While Ms. Noori Amma, president of SIP+ expresses about this: “Thirunangais are not those who are born just these days. There are many nick names – chakka, onpathu, oosu. Only now after recognition, the identities such as Thirunangais and Thirunangai have come.” In this situation, slowly some social agencies had come forward to recognize and support Thirunangais. While Mr. Hariharan, Social activists and Director of ICWO explains about this: “ I n 1990’ s WHO commissioned a study titled – Exploratory Ethnographic Study to identify sex workers in Tamil Nadu. In continuation of that, homo sexual men Thirunangai Nooriamma
  40. 40. 40 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu and transgender were identified in 1992-1993’s and were involved in HIV prevention work. From 1994 to 2004, the workbeganinTamilNadu.ManyThirunangaiswereemerged as leaders out of this work.” It is true that part time or full time job opportunities in HIV prevention work not only provided platform to express their skills and socialize but also helped to discuss the future directions of Thirunangai community development. The outcome of the experience gained from this HIV work could be noted in formation of Thirunangai agencies: Akila Ulaga Aligal Sangam founded by Noori Amma in 1996 and Tamil Nadu ThirunangaigalAssociation founded byAsha Bharathi Amma in 1998. Significant role of some social activists can Thirunangaigal Asha Bharathi
  41. 41. Ms. Priyababu 41 be noted in these organizations founded by community themselves for their development. While Asha Bharathi Amma, former president, THAA explains about this: “I was working with Dr. Manorama, founder of CHES as volunteer. Out of experience that I gained from work, I expressed Manorama about the idea to form an association forourcommunitydevelopment.THAAwastheagencywhich formed later with her support. Manorama stepped into the houses of many Thirunangai is with me to form this association.” In this period, Koovagam Koothandavar Festival where larger Thirunangais gathered together and also paved important platform for community development. While Dr. Manorama, Director of CHES describes about this: “While we involved in HIV awareness work in Chennai in 1996-s, many expressed to organize HIV awareness campaigns in Koovagam Koothandavar Festival. Based on that, first year we organized HIV awareness programs. Later in second year, first time in India, we organized Thirunangai beauty pageant show, round table conference, rallies, and workshop forThirunangais. Mr.Abdul Mishra, District Collector [during that period] and Mr. Ravi, District Police Commissioner [during that period] participated in these events as special invitees. Only in this function, Mr. Ravi announced a respectful identity of ‘Thirunangai’for TGs as they every year marry LordAravan. Besides, the district collector, Mr. Abdul Misra offered free land pattas for 22 Thirunangais in the function.” This event provided a platform to create awareness about Thirunangai among media professionals and political leaders. Consequently, many political leaders and media professionals found avenues to contribute their participation in Thirunangai community development. In continuation of that, in 2002 and 2003, THAA organized Thirunangai beauty
  42. 42. 42 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu pageant show with the financial support of TANSACS and APAC. In 2003, c o m m u n i t y o r g a n i z a t i o n named – South I n d i a Thirunangaigal Association for Rights and Rehabilitation came into existence inTrichy to address for the rights and livelihood needs of Thirunangai communities. This organization initiated dance competition in Koovagam Festival to encourage dance talents of Thirunangais. Followed by this, many knowledge-based competitions such as speech competition, debates, singing competition, and the best Thirunangai women competition were organized by many community organizations. Many Thirunangais participated in these competitions and expressed their multi talents. In these events, leaders belong to different departments/fields, political leaders, social activists, and media professionals participated as special invitees. Many media documented these events in large scale. In 2003, CSIM, a non-profit organization initiated their efforts to address education needs of Thirunangai communities. While Ms. Latha Suresh expresses about contribution of CSIM to Thirunangai communities: “In 2003, Ms. Shabeena Francis [TG women] came to take 1 year PGDSIM course offered by our organization. Thirunangaigal Jeeva
  43. 43. Ms. Priyababu 43 Only after interacting with her, she herself disclosed that she was TG-women. Before that I did not have any knowledge about Thirunangais. While she studied here, we or fellow students did not face any issues. While she finished the studies, she recommended a few Thirunangais into the same course. In this way, 11 Thirunangais were offered education in last 7 years.” Furthermore, she happily remembered that “Shabeena who got one year course presently enrolled for Ph.D. in Tata Institute of Social Science in Mumbai and CSIM sponsored her complete first year expenses. Thirunangai Viji founded “Anbu Trust” in Thoothukudi and worked for women, children, and Thirunangais. Thirunangai Jeeva founded TRA in Chennai and advocated for the rights of Thirunangais. Thirunangai Dhanam founded social organization and worked for Thirunangai living with HIV.And Thirunangai Rose works in media.” Educational interest of Thirunangais reveals their mindset to live together with general population. Besides, it can be understood that Thirunangais realized that education is the primary need to work in mainstream jobs. In addition to this, interest showed by many Thirunangais can be noted. For example, Thirunangai Kalki, after her post-graduation in media studies, initiated first Thirunangai Magazine titled “Sahodari” in 2001. Also, she launched separate Matrimonial Blog for Thirunangai seeking groom in Chennai in 2009. While Kalki expresses about this: “Mainstream society need to be educated that Thirunangais have rights to marriage and rights to choose their own groom. This was the primary intention behind my effort.” To honour her services, she was invited byAmerican government as guest inAugust 2010. While Kalki expresses about this:
  44. 44. 44 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu “As a human rights activist, I got opportunity to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program organized by American Government. Young successful leaders across the globe in different fields such as media, social work, and arts were invited [to this program]. [The purpose] was to provide platform to share and learn experiences [among invitees]. The opportunity helped me to share experiences [of Thirunangai movement of TN] in America. I feel happy to be the first TG women in all these years to participate in this program.” In this way, it is important to note that work of TN Thirunangai community has been disseminated even in international platforms. All these events could be seen as outcome of the community groups who came forward by themselves for their community development. In this period, in many districts of TN, Thirunangai formed their own organization by themselves. Snegam Trust is one among those community organizations formed in Theni in 2004. Initially registration of this trust was ejected by the Registrar as Thirunangai Trustees as they did not provide any valid government documents [as address and identity proof]. This realized the need to address basic rights of Thirunangai communitiesinTN.Consequently,on6th March,2004trustees of Snegam Trust and Ms. Rajini, Director of Dalit Friendship Association headquartered in Madurai field a public litigation in Chennai High Court for Thirunangai voting rights. Dalit agencies and tribal agencies consistently participated in follow-up advocacy events organized by Thirunangai communities. This public litigation and advocacy events was widely spoken inTamil Media and among general population. Most media in India largely focused this news. This event could be seen as eye opener in different sections of the society. Many sections of the society especially women groups and writers associations provided their possible support for TG community development. This litigation could be seen as pathway to change views and
  45. 45. Ms. Priyababu 45 opinions of mainstream communities about Thirunangais. Besides, this initiated dialogues and discussions around gender identities. In the same year, Thirunangai community groups of Vellore made efforts to form Self Help Groups and other livelihood options. As per instructions of Mr. Sidharanjan I.A. S [District Collector during that period], free housing for Thirunangai was given in sugarcane industry locations based in Katpadi. Besides, in 2005, a large scale protest against rejection of life insurance for Thirunangais was organized in Vellore. Followed by Vellore, Thirunangai Community development efforts were begun in Kancheepuram. In 2004, Suder Foundation, an Thirunangai community-based organization formed an Thirunangai cultural troupe to sensitize general population about human rights violations and psycho-social issues faced by Thirunangai communities. Ms. Meena Swaminathan, Swaminathan Research Foundation, Tharamani, Chennai and Ms. Mangai, Stella Maris College, Chennai were key instrumental persons in forming this cultural troupe. More than cultural troupe, they consistently voice out in different forums for Thirunangai community development.After long denial, 15 Thirunangais based in Pukkadurai, Kancheepuram got free land pattas under Central government’s Indira Awagan Yojana Scheme. Besides Self-Help Groups forThirunangai were initiated. To empower economically, the agency named ‘Nikila’ provided free beautician and ayurvedic massage training for Thirunangais. In 2005, voices of Thirunangai communities were raised publicly in many districts. Specifically, VMMK, a non- profit organization based in Virdhunagar, a southern district of TN expressed the issues and needs of Thirunangai communities to the district collector. These requisitions were widely covered in local media. This could be seen as important event that led changes in social view in southern districts about Thirunangais.
  46. 46. 46 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu 2006 -1st Trangender Rally
  47. 47. Ms. Priyababu 47 In 2006, THAA, SWAM, and Sangama organized a large-scale public rally of same-sex attracted men and trans- genders in Chennai.At the end of the rally which was primarily organized for social recognition of Thirunangais, a requisition letter [manu] was given to the Social Welfare Board Minister of that period. Large-scale media coverage of the needs expressed in the letter such as Special Self Help Group and free sex reassignment surgeries found to be added strength. In all these 4 – 5 year events, involvement of Government departments, women groups, writers, dalit agencies and media were very prominent for the development Thirunangais. This involvement could be seen as their sensitivity towards marginalized groups and expression of thought for new equalitarian society. In 2007 THAA in partnership with Guilt of Service, a private agency offered free computer and typewriting trainings to Thirunangais. For the inaugural function of this training, Ms. Lathika Saran, Commissioner of Police, Chennai participated as special invitee. This participation reveal that both private and government departments accept Thirunangai communities as their fellow beings by showing interest in their development. In the same year, on 17th Dec, Chennai Branch of Action Aid which operates across the 2006 -1st Trangender Rally
  48. 48. 48 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Globe convened a public hearing to document violence faced by Thirunangai communities and policy development for Thirunangais. While Ms. Ester Maria Selvam, Program Manager, ActionAid explains about this: “We worked among Thirunangai for 4 to 5 years. We observed a lot of right violations against them. Policy changes cannot be made by one or two persons. This is not practical as well. Hence Action Aid along with their partner agencies such as TASA and State Womens Commission organized for a public hearing. With this, we documented Human Rights violations against Thirunangais in TN.” About 300 Thirunangais participated in this event. And Jury Panel was chaired by Ms. Ramathal, Former President, Tamil Nadu State Women’s Commission; Mr.Asif Fernandes, H.R.F; Mr. Sampath, Retired Chief Justice of Punjab; Mr. Kalimuthu, Commissioner of Police; Ms. Kurshiyagandhi, I.A.S. Thirunangai community participants presented Violence and Human Rights Violations faced by Transgender awarners programme in Loyola college
  49. 49. Ms. Priyababu 49 them to the Jury. Also, needs and expectations of Thirunangai communities werediscussed in the hearing. Followed by this hearing, a four-member committee led by Ms.Ramathal, State Women Commission was formed with one member from each Police Department, Social WelfareAgency, andThirunangai community.All these events reveal the interest and willingness of government departments and non-profit agencies to develop traditionally marginalized Thirunangai communities. Besides, all these events were important factors that led Thirunangai communities to shape themselves as stronger community. In 2009, first time in the world, Lions Club based in Chennai formed an exclusively Lions Club for Thirunangais. Ms. Noori Amma was the first elected Thirunangai leader for this Club named – “Chennai Gemini Thirunangaigal Lions Club”. While Mr. Manivanan who played significant role in formation of this Lions Club which plays key role in empowerment of Thirunangai explaining about its activities: “Many agencies just use Thirunangais for their program [HIV testing and targets] and did not focus afterwards. This was of little use for Thirunangais communities. So our objective was to make them as members of Lions Club, identify their needs and work accordingly. Initially we provided membership to Noori Amma. As we liked her activities, we founded a separate Lions Club for Thirunangais.” Presently, Ms. Jeeva, President of Transgender Rights Association, is selected as the President of this Seminar with Police officers
  50. 50. 50 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Lions Club which addresses the self-employment needs of Thirunangais. In 2008, TANSACS organized HIV sensitization meetings for police across the state. HIV vulnerable communities such as women in sex work, injecting drug users, same-sex attracted men, and transgenders were involved as community trainers for these sensitization meetings. While Thirunangai community trainer Ms. Gomathi explains about her experience: “Former Director of [TANSACS], Ms. Supriya Sahu, decided to sensitize police officials about target groups by target groups. For that, she recruited talent community persons and trained them. Later [TANSACS] sent us to all districts of TN to educate Police Officials. Initially, Police Officials looked differently while training. While we clarified their doubts, they become very good friend. Now I have many police friends.” As a result of in volving community trainers, good relationship was emerged between police officials and Thiru nangais. It can be said that it significantly changed idea/ Thirunangai jamath leaders meeting
  51. 51. Ms. Priyababu 51 concept about Thirunangais in the minds of police officials and made them to accept Thirunangai as fellow-beings. In August 2010, Chennai High Court, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Agencies, and Sate Legal Advisory Board jointly organized a one-day workshop relating to issues of Thirunangais. Many State and Central-Level Persons, Justice, Advocates, Police Officials, Media Professionals, and Thirunangais participated in this workshop. In this event, violence, violations, and issues faced by Thirunangai communities across India were discussed at large. In addition to that, there was a brief discussion on expectations and needs of Thirunangais. These events can be seen as participation and involvement of legal authorities in addition to social activitis in the welfare of Thirunangais.Also, these events can be seen as moti vating forces and platforms to devise strategies to move a way forward for the community development. Tamil Nadu Murpokku Writers Association which included Writers andArtists from different fields work jointly with Thirunangai communities since 2004. While reporter of Theekathir, Tamil Daily and secretary of Tamilnadu Writers Association Mr. Mayilai Balu explains. “We came to know that Ms. Mangai formed a Thirunangai Cultural Troupe to stage skits. She is a feminist andworkedinWomenAssociationformanyyears.Westaged the drama composed/directed by her in one of our folknight cultural programs. We used to conduct a review/de-briefing meeting after each such event. In that meeting all discussed about Thirunangais and opined that Thirunangais should become part of their system. As we needed more understanding about them, we invited some Thirunangais for ourstate-levelconference.Moreover,wegrantedmarginalized group literature award in remembrance of late- S. Samutharam to Ms. Priya Babu for her novel. Followed by that, conference titled ‘Thirunangai Literature World’ was
  52. 52. 52 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu organized. In this there were discussions between literature written by and for Thirunangai communities.” This writers association paved way for other sections such as other marginalized groups, government officials, women groups to correctly understand about Thirunangai communities. Besides this association provided platform to built good rapport and seek their support in several developmental activities. By this, it can be understood that different sections of TN society have taken efforts for Thirunangai rights and community development in their respective works. Transgender Beauty Content
  53. 53. Ms. Priyababu 53 Role of political parties in Thirunangai Community Development
  54. 54. 54 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  55. 55. Ms. Priyababu 55 In 1998, a national plan of action was developed to combat “trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children”. State-Level Coordination Committees were constituted in several states, including Tamil Nadu, as trafficking is both a State and Central Government subject. In the fourth Tamil Nadu state level Co-ordination Committee meeting held on 4th August, 2003, the Commissioner of Social Defense requested the TN government to constitute a sub-committee to conduct a detailed study on the ‘rehabilitation’ of transgender people. Consequently, the TN government formed a sub- committee called ‘Sub-committee for Rehabilitation of Transgender People” under the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department. A government order dated 23rd October 2003 was issued to authorize the formation of such a sub-committee, with the Director of Social Welfare as its nodal officer. After formation of Sub-committee, several interactions between political leaders (and government officials) and transgender communities have been documented. Both political leaders and government officials had presided over functions in which transgender people were honoured, or had attended the functions or events organized by the Thirunangai community groups. Eventually, the issues of transgender people entered into the Election Manifesto of a major political party in Tamil Nadu. Released in April, 2006, it stated “with a view to protect the welfare of ‘Thirunangais’ …. We will take appropriate decision after a thorough examination of various demands made by them”. In October 2006, the follow-up Sub-committee meeting was convened by the Director of Social Welfare with representatives from various Government departments, NGOs and Thirunangai communities. The Subcommittee
  56. 56. 56 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu made several recommendations that include: sex reassignment surgery for eligible Thirunangai people; family counselling for acceptance of Thirunangai people; admission of Thirunangai students in schools and colleges; special vocational training and skill development training for Thirunangai people; and special grievance redressal meetings to be convened by the District Collectors. These recommendations were later issued as a Government Order on 21st December 2006 (G.O. No. 199). In relation to these recommendations, the Director of Social Welfare wrote to the Tamil Nadu Government, which led to the Government Order that announced the formation of the TG Welfare Board on April 15, 2008. Later, the Tamil Nadu Government officially announced April 15 as ‘Thirunangai day’ to commemorate the day in which the Transgender Welfare Board was formed. SCHEMES OF TGWB TGWB has addressed a variety of social protection needs of Thiru nangais since its inception. For simplicity and dis cussion purposes, the schemes are grouped as ‘Thirunangai-specific’ schemes – which are new schemes introduced by the TGWB to cater to the needs of Thirunangais; and facilitating access to ‘existing schemes’ – that is, allowing t r a n s g e n d e r people to access the government schemes that existed in the variousgovernment department even beforetheformation oftheTGWB. Transgender Welfare board Identity card Programe
  57. 57. Ms. Priyababu 57 Thirunangai-Specific Welfare Schemes by TGWB TG-specific schemes are those that are formulated and funded by TGWB exclusively to benefit the transgender people. These include self-employment grants (up to INR 20,000) primarily to address the income needs of Thirunangai people.Materialsupportssuchassewingmachinesaregiven to needy Thirunangai people. Furthermore, short-stay home was started in Chennai to serve as a temporary shelter for Thirunangai people in crisis and as a safe place for ThirunangaipeopletostaywhentheyvisitChennaiformedical care and sex reassignment surgery. Access to existing government schemes from various government departments The existing State Government Schemes that are accessed by TGWB members mostly include income generation by formation of Thirunangai Self-Help Groups (SHGs) operated by accredited NGOs (which usually manage SHGs for women). To address housing needs of Thirunangai people, the state government offers free land pattas. Besides, the central government’s housing scheme – IndiraAwaasYojana (IAY) – is also used to provide support for housing to Thirunangai people. TGWB facilitates access to existing government institution-delivered programmes such as health insurance, education, and employment. TGWB facilitates access to employment opportunities for Thirunangai people by enabling them to register in the State Government ‘Employment Exchange’. TGWB facilitates provision of free sex reassignment surgery through select Government Hospitals in Chennai. Kilpauk Medical College Government Hospital and Madras Medical College Government Hospital offer free SRS that include removal of male genitalia, and vaginoplasty. Moreover, ration/food cards that are usually provided to a family are now provided to Thirunangai people even if they live alone.
  58. 58. 58 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  59. 59. Ms. Priyababu 59 Thirunangais in Tamil Media
  60. 60. 60 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Often many media of TN documented a variety of information relating to Thirunangai communities such as life style, social issues, and Thirunangai events/festivals. Media played a prominent role in eliminating derogatory label – ‘Ali’ and publicize the respectful identity – “Thirunangai” . Also, the key reason to refer Thirunangais with respectful identity – Thirunangai by all sections of the society presently was its frequent usage in media. However, in the beginning, media was the sole responsibility for Thirunangai communities being looked down up on by public. In 1970, in the film titled – ‘Palaabisagam’, the famous humor artist Mr. Nagesh assumed the character of Thirunangai. He frequently used the number ‘9’ [derogatory label] to refer Thirunangai individuals. Later in 1980, in the film directed by T.R Rajendran – ‘Rail Payanagalil’ [in the train journey], some males assumed the characters of Thirunangais and danced for a derogatory song – ‘kokara koli kuvara vela’. Similarly, in a movie titled ‘Eeramana Rojave’ released in 1991, Thirunangais were shown as sex solicitors. Even in this film, men were given characters of Thirunangais. In this way Thirunangai were mostly portrayed as mockery objects, sex solicitors, and persons with undesirable behaviours. Lack of understanding about Thirunangai communities among the film directors and story writers and lack of adequate literatures relating to Thirunangai communities might be the possible reason for these negative portrayals in media. Besides, only a limited Thirunangai community organization existed in that period. In a movie titled – ‘Appu’ released in 1998, a Thirunangai artist was shown as brothel owner person who traffic girls into sex work.Also the Thirunangai character was shown as very strong antagonist. First time protest voice was raised strongly against this movie by many Thirunangai
  61. 61. Ms. Priyababu 61 activists. Radhika, S. Samuthiram Transgender Welfare Organization, Thiruvanamalai; N. Muthukumar, Lotus Sangam, Kumbakkonam; and many other Thirunangai activists strongly expressed their protest voices. The movie titled ‘Mumbai’ released in 1994 was the first movie to portray Thirunangai positively as person with social responsibility. In this movie which was released in many languages including Tamil and Hindi, a Thirunangai artist was given a noble character that saves children get trapped in crisis and show motherly affection. This movie could be seen as sensitization tool that explained about understanding about Thirunangai communities and their motherly heart beyond TN. Movie titled ‘Thenaveddu’ [Arrogant] released in 2006 expressed helping nature and motherly affection of Thirunangai communities. The scene of a Thirunangai character sacrificing her life for sake of hero & heroine. The dialogue of heroine – ‘Thirunangais are lovely persons’ reinforced understanding about Thirunangai communities among Tamil audiences. In addition to that, this was the only movie where about 100 Thirunangais acted. In a movie titled – ‘Navarasa’ released in 2005, the Director Santhosh Sivan expressed changes in gender, mental struggle of Thirunangai persons, and subsequent actions were taken by Thirunangais. The movie acted by Kamalahashan titled ‘Vetaiyadu Vilaiyadu’ was protested my many Thirunangai activist in websites and newspapers. ‘Paruthi Veeran’ directed by Mr. Amir, ‘Thiruda Thirudi’ acted by Thanus, ‘Jilunu Oru Kadhal’ acted by Surya, ‘Pokiri’ and ‘Sivakasi’ acted by Vijay, and ‘Kattapomman’acted by SarathKumar were list of movies with negative portrayals of Thirunangais and which were protested by Thirunangai communities in different forums. All these films negatively portrayed body language/movements of Thirunangai and projected that
  62. 62. 62 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Thirunangais meant primarily for sex/work. Experience and expertise of many Thirunangai activists in media, especially in web-based sources and documentaries possibly supported in voicing-out their protests. In a movie titled ‘Virudhagiri’ released in 2010 and directed by Mr. Vijayakanth, Actor and President of the political party ,MDMK showed Thirunangai communities as people who deserve sympathy. 2011 is the important year in which Tamil Film Industry broadened its view about Thirunangai communities. ‘Narthagi’ – the film which primarily focused the lifestyle of Thirunangais with a Thirunangai person as heroine, ‘Vaanam’ – the film with a Thirunangai person as friend in support of heroine and with a scene where hero and heroine together save the life of the Thirunangai person during crisis, ‘Kanchana’ – the film in which actor, former Mr. Chennai, and Member of Legislative Assembly Mr. Sarath Kumar acted as a Thirunangai person who struggle a lot to groom and make another Thirunangai youth as a socially responsible Physician, ‘Uchithanai Mukarnthaal’ – the film in which a Thirunangai person saves child from sexual abuse and express motherly affection towards the child, ‘Paal’ – the film which is being produced presently employs a Thirunangai person named Karpaga as heroine. All these films significantly contributed to change in the general community’s understanding about Thirunangais. Many films about Thirunangai are being directed recently and Thirunangai themselves are acting in those films show the broad understanding of Tamil Film Industry. Similarly, many documentaries have registered different aspects of the life style of Thirunangais. It can be divided into two as the films directed by Thirunangais themselves and films directed by others. In the line of films directed by Thirunangais, the documentary directed by Thirunangai social workers Ms. PriyaBabu and Ms. Priyadarshini – ‘Transgender lifestyles [vazhakkarukal]
  63. 63. Ms. Priyababu 63 in TN’in 2005 with the support of National FolkArts resource center. This film accurately documented many ritual/ ceremonies of Tamil Thirunangais such as Matha Pooja, 11th day ceremony after undergoing sex transition, paal function, varusa pooja and Koovagam Festival Ceremonies. Notably, Thirunangai directors could visit real ceremonies and document in live. The documentary films directed by mainstream people about Thirunangais to explain their struggles, efforts, and success include: ‘Apaal’ directed by Mr. Rajanayagam in 2005, ‘kothi’ directed by C. Muthu Kumar, ‘RajaRani’ directed by Mr. Radhakrishnan in 2007, ‘Nanum Oru Pen’ [I too am a woman] directed by Mr. Ramanathan in 2008, focused on the employment opportunities of Thirunangais . ‘Nanum ienoru nanum’ directed by M s . A a n d a l Priyadarshini in 2009, showed the views of the society & the victory of the Thirunangais in overcoming their pain & agony. Thisdocumentary won the UNESCO media award LAADLI. “Akrinaigal” directed by Ms.Geetha and Thirunangai kalki
  64. 64. 64 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Mr.Elangoven, showcased the feelings , sufferings and the ways by which two Thirunangais overcame them. Notably, the film directed by Mr. Vignesh in 2002 documented many emotions and feeling of Thirunangais such as gender transition stage in the life of Thirunangai, efforts taken by Thirunangai to identity and join with their peers, undergoing sex transition surgeries, and marriage. In 2010, to train Thirunangai individuals about media industry initiated a project – ‘Project Kalki’. While Kalki explains about this: “While media do not understand us, we have to become media professionals by ourselves. We have to write more. We have to work in different areas of media.All these dreams of mine motivated me to initiate Project Kalki. In this project, I trained many Thirunangai persons to document concerns, happiness, relationships of Thirunangai communities and about mainstream communities.” Many Thirunangai including Maanu, Sandhiya, Soudharya, andAbhinaya directed documentaries in many themes.All these documentaries were screened to college students and general communities. These can be seen as immediate outcome of many Thirunangai communities
  65. 65. Ms. Priyababu 65 initiated their thoughts about their community development. Social views and expectation of Thirunangai communities were clearly articulated in these films. Apopular interaction show titled ‘Kadai alla nijam’ [It is not a story but real] in Vijay TV [Tamil Satellite Channel] moderated by popular actress Ms. Laxmi discussed about the issues by Thirunangai communities in 2001. Some Thirunangai activists participated in the Interact show and articulatedmeetlifestyles,joysandissues.ThisInteractshow was being popularly discussed among mainstream populations. The same Vijay TV demonstrated another innovation in the year 2008. This was a Interact show titled “Ippadikku Rose” [by Rose]. While Thirunangai VJ Rose explains about her experience in working with Vijay TV: “I was introduced as VJ in 2008 in Vijay TV. This was the first time where Thirunangai was given opportunity as VJ. This Interact show changed the view of mainstream communities towards trans-gender communities of TN. Besides many media projected about me and my show. Outlook compiled the 100 best practices in last 10 year and awarded 6th place for my show. This was the greatest honest conferred on me. “ Besides, based on her previous experience, she directed and facilitated similar interact show in Kalaingnar TV titled – “Ithu Rose Neram”. Presently she hosts a interactive show – ‘Talk to Rose’ in big FM.All these shows possibly helped general population to understand about Thirunangai community. Also, this could be seen as an outcome of interest of media on empowerment of Thirunangai communities. Similarly, Thirunangai contributed their participation in some TV shows – ‘Maanada Mayilada’ in Kalaignar TV, Jack Pot in Jaya TV. In this way, one cannot deny the fact that Tamil Media always interested in imparting knowledge about Thirunangai communities among mainstream people with social responsibility.
  66. 66. 66 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Print media In Tamil Nadu, writings always played a very significant role for social change. In this way, the first publication about Thirunangai in Tamil was a story - ‘Vadamalli’ published inAnanda Vikadan which later took the form of a novel. The novel written by Late Thiru.Samudharam clearly articulated even micro things such as one’s self-realization as trans-gender, sex transition process adopted by Thirunangais in those days, lives of Thirunangais in TN and Mumbai. While TN government selected the novel for award and provided cash gifts, Thiru. Samutharam donated a part of the cash awards to the community groups and expressed his social accountability/ thought. Followed by that, an article ‘Aligal Valkkai’ [Life of Thirunangais]writtenbythechiefreporterThiru.Norulaclearly explained the lives of Thirunangais in Mumbai.After a long gap, in 2006, Thirunangai writer Revathi wrote a book Thirunangai Revathi
  67. 67. Ms. Priyababu 67 ‘Unarvum uruvamum’. This was the first book written by Thirunangai writers. In this, stories of many Thirunangai in different stages were compiled and presented. In 2001 autobiography written by Thirunangai living smile Vidya – ‘Nan Saravan Alla Vidya’ was published in Tamil, English, and Malayalam. Also, the book was being considered by Stella Maris College, Chennai and American College, Madurai to include in their Tamil curriculum. In the same year, the book - Social Structure of Thirunangais clearly presented structures, lives and customs/traditions of Thirunangais in TN. And, the novel – ‘Muundram Paalin Mugam’ written by Thirunangai writer Ms. PriyaBabu documented the life incidents of Thirunangais from the perspective of Thirunangais.All these 4 books were written byThirunangais about Thirunangais. Besides writing talents, passion of Thirunangai activist to bring change in society for their community can be noted from this. ‘Ethirollikkum K a r a o l i g a l ’ written by Ms. Mangai and Thirunangais in Tamil Literatures written by Thiru. Munis were important books written by main stream writers aboutThirunangai communities. Munis intensively reviewed Tamil l i t e r a t u r e s , grammar, epics, and folklore to write the book. Thirunangai living smile Vidya
  68. 68. 68 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu Similarly, many writers wrote about Thirunangai in Tamil. That include: Novel titled – Kamali written by Thiru. Alagiri Vishwanathan, novel titled – ‘Thirunangaigal Valviyalum Koothandavar Thiruvizhavum’ [Life style of Thirunangais and Koothandavar Festival] written by K.Chinnappan, ‘Thirunangai Valviyalum Iraiyiyalum’ written by A.M.Jeyaseelan, ‘Nanum Inoru Nanum’ written by Andal Priyadarshini, ‘Thirunangaiyam’ written by prof, M. Arunachalam, ‘Avan+Athu=Aval’ written by Thiru. S. BalaBharathi, ‘Koovagam Kothanam’ written by Thiru. Sakthi Vel. Short stories Just like novels, many stories relating to Thirunangai were often published in daily and weekly magazines. A story – ‘Tholaintha Mugam’ [Lost face] written by Thirunangai activist – Asha Bharathi was the first shorty that registered the issues in lives of T h i r u n a n g a i s . Besides, Natarajan’ s short story – ‘Mathi Enum Manithanin Maranam’ published in India Today after receiving appreciation of many people, produced as docu mentary film by film editor Thiru. Lenin. In continuation of it, Thirunangai Thirunangai Bharathi Kannamma
  69. 69. Ms. Priyababu 69 Aruna’ s ‘Kallippu’, Thirunangai sudha’ s ‘Endru Vidiyum’ was a few among those stories written by Thirunangais. Besides, many stories such as ‘Ulamangadai’ written by Thiru. Latchumana Perumal, ‘Vakram’ written by Thiru. Paavanan, ‘Komathi’ written by Thiru. K. RajaNarayanan registered issues, concerns, expectations of Thirunangai communities. Dramas Just like films and TV programs, drams a relating to Thirunangais made many social changes. The first Thirunangai theatre group in India – Kannaki Kalaikulu made a very big change in TN. Ms. Meena Swaminathan, M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation and A. Mangai, Lecturer, Stella Maris College and Feminist was instrumental conceptualizing and implementing the skits of these theatre group ‘Manasin Azhaippu’ which talks about problems in lives of Thirunangai and ‘Uraiyatha Ninaivukal’ which talks Thirunangai Olga
  70. 70. 70 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu about expectations of Thirunangai communities. Their participation reveal that feminist have considered Thirunangai communities as one among them and show their involvement towards traditionally oppressed communities. Similarly, drama enacted by prof. Thiru. A.Gunasekar titled ‘Maatram’ [Change] in addition to explaining issues of Thirunangai communities, clarified the ways and means for Thirunangai to address them. Besides, this drama questions the society – Why the lives of this community need to continue in darkness? In these dramas which were staged primarily to sensitize mainstream communities about Thirunangai communities, the dedicated participation of Thirunangai communities resulted in understanding of mainstream communities about Thirunangais. Besides, drama written and directed by Prof. Thiru. Ramasamy – ‘Valiyarruppu Natakam’ [Drama which kills pain] was very important which explained mainstream communities about social structure Vanavil Thirunangai Cultural Programme
  71. 71. Ms. Priyababu 71 of Thirunangais, birth of Thirunangais, mental status of parents of Thirunangais, and expectations of Thirunangais. In this way, all media made their contribution from their view to register/talk about Thirunangai communities. These events can be noted as interest of media on oppressed communities. Also, it reveals social responsibility of media towards traditionally marginalized trans-gender communities.
  72. 72. 72 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  73. 73. Ms. Priyababu 73 Reference list
  74. 74. 74 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu
  75. 75. Ms. Priyababu 75 Books 1.Tamil Illakiyathil Aravanigal. V. Munis Jeyam Publication, Kolluveerampatti. (2008) 2.Ethirolikkum Karaoligal… A. Mangai. Bharathi Publication. Chennai. (2005) 3.Unarvum Uruvamum. Revathi. Adaiyalam Publication. Sangama. (2005) 4.Aravanigal Samuga Varaiviyal … PriyaBabu. Thenthisai Publication. Chennai (2007) 5.Aravanigal Udaliyal, Ulaviyal, Valviyal. Maharasan. Thoolamai Publication. Chennai (2007) 6.Tamil IllakiyangalilAravanigal. Dr. M.Arunachalam. Arun Publication. Dhindgul. (2010) 7.Thirunangai Valviyalum Iraieyalum. Jeyaseelam. Vaikarai Publication. Dhindugul. (2010) 8.Valiyaruppu. M. Ramasamy. Sembi Publication. Madurai (2011) Personal interviews 1.Archana, Erode Mavatta Aravanigal Nalam Nadum Sangam 2.R. Jeeva, Chennai, Transgender RightsAssociation 3.A.V. Kirubhama, Kancheepuram, Thamilnadu AravanigalAssociation 4.Kavitha, Coimbatore, cooking expert 5.Maanu, Chennai, Social worker 6.Manorama, Chennai, CHES 7.Noori, Chennai, South India Positive Network 8.Hariharan, Chennai, ICWO 9.AshaBharathi, Chennai 10.Latha Suresh, Chennai, CSIM 11.Kalki, Coimbatore, Sahodari Foundation 12.Ester Mariaselvam, Chennai, ActionAid 13.Manivannan, Chennai Lions Club
  76. 76. 76 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu 14.Gomathi, ThamilNaduAravanigalAssociation 15.Mayilai Balu, TamilNadu writersAssociation 16.Rose, Media Person 17.Olga, SIAAP 18.Palani, Chennai 19.Viji, Thoothukudi,Anbu Trust 20.Boomika, Virudhunagar 21.Sonali, Trichy, TGCAN 22.Revathi, Namakkal, Writer
  77. 77. Ms. Priyababu 77 Government orders (G.O) issued by Social welfare and nutritious meal programme department relating to TG communities in TN S. No. - G.O. number - Date of issue - Subject 1. 201 23/10/2003 Constitution of Subcommitteefor‘rehabilitation’of‘eunuchs’ 2. 199 21/12/2006 Recommendations given by Sub-committee Constituted for ‘Rehabilitation’ of ‘eunuchs’ 3. 38 15/04/2008 Formation of TG welfare board in TN 4. 152 24/10/2008 Formation of State and District-level committees for identifyingAravanis 5 79 29/03/2010 Sanction of Rs. 64, 00, 000 loan to Aravanis in all 32 districts for self-employment 6 89 31/03/2010 100 embroidery tailoring machines toAravanis at the cost of Rs. 7, 50, 000 7 47 2/03/2009 Rs. 1, 00, 10, 000 budget allocation for free housing to Aravanis in the select districts of TN 8 83 30/03/2010 Rs. 6, 09, 000 for SHG formation and trainings 9 27 28/02/2011 Officially announced April 15 as ‘Thirunangai day to commemorate the day in which the Transgender Welfare Board was formed.
  78. 78. 78 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu 1. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp- tamilnadu/article2095260.ece 2.http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Chennai/ article2132602.ece 3. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp- tamilnadu/article1700983.ece 4 . h t t p : / / w w w . k o o d a l . c o m / n e w s / tamilnadu.asp?id=61772&section=tamil&title=transgender- rose-to-contest-in-karur 5. http://specials.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/20sld01. htm 6 . h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 8 / 0 1 / 3 1 / s t o r i e s / 2008013159210500.htm 7 . h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 8 / 11 / 1 9 / s t o r i e s / 2008111960700500.htm 8 . h t t p : / / h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 6 / 0 8 / 1 0 / s t o r i e s / 2006081019290300.htm 9.http://www.hindu.com/mp/2010/09/30/stories/ 2010093050400300.htm 10.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 8 / 0 8 / 0 5 / s t o r i e s / 2008080554210500.htm 11.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 8 / 0 3 / s t o r i e s / 2009080359510400.htm 12.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 8 / 0 3 / s t o r i e s / 2009080359510400.htm 13.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 9 / 0 7 / s t o r i e s / 2009090758450300.htm 14. http://thebollywoodgallery.com/transgender-rose-joins-big- fm-stills-photos/ Websites
  79. 79. Ms. Priyababu 79 15. http://theangels.co.uk/2009/07/a-transgender-star- sparkles -in-indias-tv-firmament/ 1 6 . h t t p : / / w w w . b o l o j i . c o m / i n d e x . c f m ? md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=4832 17. h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 7 / 0 2 / 2 2 / s t o r i e s / 2007022218720400.htm 18. http://destrantalk.blogspot.com/2009/12/indian-state-of- tamil-nadu-recognizes.html 19. http://www.nowpublic.com/world/worlds-first-matrimonial- site-transsexuals 20. http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/11/19/tamil- nadu-cm%E2%80%99s-health-insurance-coverage- transgenders 21. http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/ article570971.ece 22. h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 1 0 / 0 6 / 1 0 / s t o r i e s / 2010061060800300.htm 23. http://news.oneindia.in/2011/08/04/tn-govt-allots-rs-one- crore-for-transgenders-welfare.html 24.http://ibnlive.in.com/news/meet-rose-indias-first- transgender-tv-show-host/51576-3.html 25. http://indiabagmc.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-with-church- of-south-india-csi.html 26. http://www.nccindia.in/webapp/news/Bibile% 20Study%20-%20Report.pdf 27.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 11 / 0 4 / 0 6 / s t o r i e s / 2011040656380500.htm 28.http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/society/ article12989.ece 29. http://www.tn.gov.in/pressrelease/archives/pr2004/ pr020404/pr020404.htm
  80. 80. 80 Social History of Thirunangai Community in Tamil Nadu 30.h t t p : / / w w w. h i n d u . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 5 / 1 8 / s t o r i e s / 2009051857050200.htm 3 1 . h t t p : / / w w w. a i a d m k a l l i n d i a . o r g / A I A D M K % 20Election%20Manifesto%20-%20Tamil%20Nadu% 20State.pdf 32. http://www.tn.gov.in/gorders/social/sw-e-201-2003.htm 33.http://www.tn.gov.in/gorders/social/sw_e_199_2006.htm

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