Kerala has always been a step ahead when it comes to empowering and encouraging the transgender community. After introducing government jobs and hosting an athletic meet for transgenders, Kerala recently hosted its first-ever beauty contest for transgenders.
Organised by Dhwayah Arts and Cultural Society, the objective of this event was to emphasise the significance of the inclusion of the third gender in society.
Sheetal Shyam, one of the transgender activists, told The Hindu,
Our attempt is to bring more transgenders to the mainstream of society and help them find jobs and means of livelihood.
In this context, the beauty contest was organised at the CIAL convention centre in Nedumbassery in Ernakulam on June 15. Prominent actors like Parvathy Omanakuttan, Ramya Nambeeshan, Madhoo, Sadhika, Muktha, Shamna Kasim, Krishna Prabha, and singer Rimi Tomy were present at the event.
Fifteen participants walked the ramp in a jam-packed hall before a judging panel that included Ranjini Haridas, Miss India 2008; Parvathy Omanakuttan; and Dr Paul Mani and Dr Sam from AHF India. Bringing in some irony to the contest, the final question was 'If you adopt a child, which gender would you prefer? Boy or girl?'
Shyama, the winner of the contest, said she would adopt a boy.
As per a report by The News Minute, the 25-year-old postgraduate in Malayalam was also the first person to receive the state government scholarship for transgender persons a few weeks ago. She said,
Compared to women, men harass transgender persons more, so I would like to adopt a boy and teach him how to respect transgender persons, and how they are equal to others. Let him grow up by learning to respect all equally.
The event was inaugurated by CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. State Health Minister KK Shailaja also attended the function.
Speaking to The News Minute, Shailaja said,
Transgender persons are still not fully included by the society. There are engineering graduates who were denied jobs just because of their identity. The Kerala government has done many things for transgender persons. We have launched a lot of schemes for them. And we will continue to develop a lot of schemes so that transgender persons can come into the mainstream fully.