Fear of being ridiculed in the locker rooms. Constantly having to remind coaches and fellow team mates about their preferred way for addressing them. Being mocked at for their demeanour by the opposing team members. The disgusted faces and the awkward moments. The feeling of being pushed into a corner. Freaked out, depressed and frustrated. Having intense passion for sports but no proper channel to pursue it…
Being a part of their school or college teams and competing in various sporting events was never easy for the many people who identify themselves as transgenders. Transgenders are people whose gender identity does not match their gender at birth. They are worried about revealing their true identity. They often give up on their dreams out of the fear of mockery. But what comes as a great news for the transgenders, this will now be a thing of the past.
According to The Times of India, the Kerala State Sports Council is conducting a state-level transgender sports meet with the aim of uplifting the transgender community. This tournament will be conducted on April 28 at the Central Stadium at Palayam and will include events like sprint in 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, relay, shot put and long jump. “This will be the first ever transgender sports meet which is an initiative of the government. We are expecting around 20 participants from each district and the representatives of each district will compete among each other. Also, a three-day warm up and coaching in different items will be given to the participants in their respective districts,” said Anil Arjunan, event coordinator to The Times of India.
Shyama S, a transgender who has just completed her MEd finds this platform as a great opportunity for everyone in her community. “Why do you run like a woman? This was a common question encountered by many of us and the fear of mockery forces us to stay away from sports days in schools and colleges. Even though we have made our presence felt in the cultural spaces and showcased our talents like in mimicry, dance, mono act and so on, we were never given a platform to explore and experience our skills in sports until now. This event will be a revival of dreams for many including me,” said 25-year-old Shyama to The Times of India.
The organizing committee includes chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the chief patron, minister for sports and youth affairs A C Moideen, tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran, V S Sivakumar MLA and mayor V K Prasanth as other patrons. Shyama S is also a member of the organizing committee.
Kerala has always been in the forefront when it comes to embracing the transgender community. India’s first transgender school, ‘Sahaj International’ was opened last December in Kochi to help students of the community continue their education. But being a transgender is still considered a taboo in the society. They face many challenges and have a long way to go in battling with the society for securing an equal place. However times are changing and such initiatives by the government do speak about India’s progressive attitude towards gender and its efforts for building an egalitarian society.