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World’s first matrimonial site for transsexuals

from www.indiatimes.com – Kalki Subramanian is young, liberated and looking for an Indian man who is loving, compassionate, educated. Oh, and one more thing — he should be OK with marrying a transsexual.

But Kalki isn’t leaving her hopes for a suitable boy to destiny. The founder-director of the Sahodari foundation, that works for transgenders, is setting up a matrimonial website for transsexual women — the first of its kind in the world.

With the Internet matchmaking portal, to be launched on Thursday, she also hopes to create a debate about the issues of matrimony and adoption for transgenders. “There has to be legal clarity for transsexuals to live a better life. We have been discriminated against and exploited for very long”, she says.

Unlike, other dating services in the world, where transgenders are set up with other transgenders, www.thirunangai.net will give transsexual women a chance to find a man of their dreams. Thirunangai, incidentally, means respectable woman in Tamil.

In a country where the boundaries of sexual tolerance are shifting daily “especially after the Delhi HC has decriminalized homosexuality — there’s a thin line between acceptability and discrimination as far as transgenders are concerned. Hijras supposedly have a sanctioned place in Indian society with more than 4,00 years of recorded history. But the estimated 2,00,000 members of the community face harassment.

“Men sexually exploit us and society discriminates against us. But we are women too and should have the right to marry and adopt children. Many transsexual women are already living with men. Now they can do so openly,” says Kalki. “Most transsexuals are born men but see themselves as women. They find it difficult to find conventional jobs and are pushed to petty crime, begging and prostitution.”

Hijras have few rights and are not recognised by Indian law. Except for the state of Tamil Nadu that has sanctioned special toilets — and a database to map the population of transgenders in the state and find out detailed demands such as ration cards and voter identity cards — they are denied the right to vote, own property, marry and the right to claim formal identity through any official documents such as a passport.

But over the last few months, India has seen its first transgender fashion model, a transgender TV presenter and even in the recent Bollywood epic ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ a hijra, instead of being cast in the usual stereotypical comic role, was portrayed as a trusted lieutenant of the queen.

Which is why, says Arif Jafar, executive director of the India Naz Foundation International, which works for policy and support on male sexualities, the matrimonial site is a welcome move. “This site may prove to be a good platform.”

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