Transgender community explore career options – Parul Sharma – Villupuram (Tamil Nadu)

Thirty two-year-old Saranya is a busy and successful beautician in Salem. Her customers vouch for her skills and this has helped her erase memories of the days when she was one of the many transsexuals working as a sex worker.

Today, Saranya is courting success after a lot of trauma and despondency?something which the entire transgender community in India faces.

“I am more than happy in my role as a beautician. Never in my dreams did I think of living a respectful life that this profession has bestowed on me. I have mental peace and satisfaction,” she says.

Saranya is not a singular case of transsexuals dabbling in fields other than the world?s oldest profession. While Malvika is a qualified engineer working as a peer educator with an NGO, Kritika is a videographer and edits a newsletter.

Her sexual status and social stigma notwithstanding, Kritika says she is curious to learn new things.

“I have done a diploma in AC refrigeration. I am also a fashion designer and help my uncle in developing motifs for his clothes,” she says.

Thanks to vocational training provided by NGOs like Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative (TAI) these transgender persons or hijras are discovering their hidden talents and using it to give expression to their aspirations.

“After being trained in Inter-personal Communications, I now interact with the members of my community to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS among them. Through short films, we try to inform them about the various infections, the treatments available for them,” says a beaming Malvika.