The Tamil Nadu government recognised the 30-year-old Grace Banu for the extraordinary services they rendered to the society. This is the first-ever award by the Tamil Nadu government felicitating the contributions of people belonging to the third gender. Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department organised the award.
Grace Banu is a native of Thoothkudi but had to leave her family due to her gender identification. Due to her unpleasant experiences at the workplace, she also quit her IT job.
Received Several Awards
Banu has previously received several state awards for spreading awareness about the need of educating transgender persons. She played a significant role in passing the court order that provided people from the marginalised community to sit for the Tamil Nadu State Public Services examination. Her extensive upliftment efforts made her a role model for the community in Tamil Nadu.
Her efforts were rewarded when transgender people could avail themselves of seats in the Sidha Medical College, The Indian Express reported. She has been an active voice for bringing to light several other transgender issues and other problems of local people.
" I was extremely happy when I got to know that I had been chosen for the honour. Transgenders awards were provided in many states, but Tamil Nadu, as it has been a pioneer in several initiatives, has become the first state to introduce an award for transpersons," said Banu.
A Prolonged Fight For Transgender Persons
She mentioned that the community was fighting for more than 75 years for recognition and to create a space for themselves in society. Banu said that in 2014, there was a rule that transgender persons could not enrol for professional courses, and she wanted to change that.
She mentioned that she never felt at par with her colleagues at her workplace, and when she spoke to her management about her gender identity, they told her that she cannot work with them. Even though she was permitted to work later, there were several restrictions on her, like moving out of the space the company had provided for her to stay.
She said that she would be satisfied only when the government agreed to provide for the community's long-standing demand of horizontal reservation in education and employment.