Short-film competition to be organised on the topics of transgenders, effeminate men and female sex workers

For a long time now, many jokes have been cracked at their expense.

Even at a recent audio launch, a young comedian, in an apparent reference to transgenders, mimicked the effeminate voice and clapped his hand to send the audience into peals of laughter; albeit, his joke referred to the possibility of men becoming impotent by smoking menthol cigarettes.

Tired of the mainstream media’s portrayal of them, the transgender community is looking to create an alternative media movement that will show their lives, pains and aspirations, realistically.

Nadodi Film Society, a Salem-based society that promotes alternative media, and Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative of Voluntary Health Services (TAI-VHS), which has for several years worked towards uplifting transgenders, are jointly organising a short-film competition on the topics of transgenders, effeminate men and female sex workers. Targeting film students and anyone interested in making films, documentary or short fiction, the organisers have said they would encourage meaningful depiction of the marginalised sections.

“The mainstream popular media often depicts transgenders or female sex workers as objects of ridicule,” said Priya Babu, writer and transgender activist. “We want to remedy this situation by creating at least a small catalogue of short films that would depict the trials and tribulations these communities undergo to even survive.”

The short film festival is titled ‘Anbin Mozhi’ (language of love). “Love is the one thing we all long for,” explained Ms. Babu. “The struggle for acceptance is constant.”

Imayabalan, secretary of Nadodi Film Society, said they had organised a film festival for transgenders in Madurai last year and were planning one in Tiruchi next month. Encouraged by the response, they are also planning a festival in Chennai later this year. “It is important to create an alternative media that will focus on these issues,” he said.

The organisers said they would provide any technical help required for making the films, and if impressed by the subject, they would also help arrange interviews with the community members. The first prize in the short-film competition is a Rs. 30,000 cash award. The second and third prizes would fetch the makers Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 10,000, respectively.

For further details, contact Mr. Imayabalan at 9025063002. More details on the Nadodi Film Society are available on their website, http://nodfs.webs.com/.

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