Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Honouring transgender women who broke norms

Mauli Kamble, a transwoman and sarpanch of a village in Malshej
area of Maharashtra, being felicitated by the sponsors of the event

PUNE: Recently Balgandharva Rang Mandir saw a gathering of transwomen from different walks of life who achieved success in their professional endeavours. They were felicitated by famous personalities, including actor Vikram Gokhale, and Meghraj Raje Bhosale, producer and president of all-India Marathi film corporation.While the function did not attract a full house audience, the presence of at least 80-90 enthusiasts enlivened the maiden gathering.

The transwomen felicitated at the event included Ranjeeta Nayak, Mauli Kamble, Chandani Gorhe, Sonali Dalvi, Panna Gabriel, Disha Shaikh, Prerna Waghela, Aishwarya, Sanchita Patil and Rishika. While Nayak and Gabriel could not make it in person, the others arrived in colourful ensembles at the event.

Nayak is known for providing safe haven to transgenders in Ganesh peth area of Pune. Her colleague, Laachi Pune, made some compelling points while addressing the sponsors of the event. She made a request for a ward for transgenders at leading government hospitals in the city, help against harassment at the hands of extortionists and from mistreatment by the police, and the initiation of a government-approved identity for each transwoman.

"I hope the sponsors will take up the challenge and extend support in the area where we need it," said Pune. Mauli Kamble, a transgender and the sarpanch of a village in Malshej area of Maharashtra, arrived with a two-inch kumkum on her forehead - the trademark she is known for in her village.

Shaikh read out a heartfelt poem highlighting the plight of transwomen, who are considered to be sacred beings, but cannot find respect even in death. "Ichalkaranji government recently released Rs. 20 lakh for transgenders. I hope Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) does something similar," said Shaikh.


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