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India’s First Transwoman Advocate

India’s First Transwoman Advocate

India has a long way to go when it comes to LGBT+ rights and acceptance into mainstream society. The discrimination faced by transgenders is even worse and most are thrown out or disowned by their families. They seldom receive an education and resort to begging or prostitution to get by.

Among such apathy and gross negligence to their existence, a rare, bright, trailblazing star emerges from time to time and proves to the rest, that there is still hope.

Read about another Indian Trans trailblazer who’s a college principal, here.

One such person is Satyashri Sharmila, the first ever Indian Trans-woman admitted into the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in July 2018. Sharmila who has completed her law degree from Central Law College, Salem in 2007 happens to be the first ever transperson to have been admitted into the bar council. She is a native of Chengalpet, near Chennai and wishes to serve her community as a lawyer. 

Here what she has to say, video courtesy: #Brut

“I will strive hard so that the transgender get all their rights and get accepted by all sections of society,” says Sharmila.

Forced to leave home as a child, Sharmila managed to survive and studied her degree at a college in Ramanathapuram and later enrolled for the law course at a Salem law college.

She is even today estranged from her birth family yet loving and willing to accept them back if they make an attempt to reach out to her.

“I have not been in touch with my family, ever since I left home. But if they are ready to accept me into the family fold again and contact me, I would be doubly happy”, said the lawyer.

“Education could open many doors of opportunity for trans persons, as it does for others. I appeal to the transgender community to educate themselves to rise high in life. The government is also extending many welfare measures for the benefit of the transgender community. There is a golden opportunity for the transgender to rise high from the social ostracism” says Satyashri.

Read about Kerala State employing transgenders in Kochi Metro, here.

The state of Kerala is the first State to establish a Policy for Transgenders, in India. As per the census conducted in Kerala during 2015-16 there are 1187 Transgenders in the state. Kerala has consistently launched initiatives to encourage inclusivity for transgender people and has provided several welfare plans for the community.

Other states, such as Tamil Nadu in the south and Maharashtra in the West have also introduced policies to help transgender people in recent years. For example, the Tamil Nadu Transgender Welfare Board addresses social protection needs like housing, health care, income assistance and skills training. But Kerala is considered to be amongst the most progressive states in the country by far, in this regard.

Unfortunately, in a country with deep-rooted discrimination that cuts across religion, region and gender, transgender people have become the greatest outliers whom no law or reservation can help unless mindsets change.

What India really needs is compulsory Sex Education and  genuine benevolence towards all.

It’s not enough to just call yourself religiously secular, we need to be truly democratic in our hearts and minds as well.

Written by: Delshad Master

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