“There is no longer any discrimination or stigma to being a transgender. Now, I am respected by society, my neighbours and family members,” says K. Gunavathi (23), a transgender and native of Oddanchatram, who is serving as a security guard in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Dindigul Government Headquarters Hospital on consolidated pay, “The government job brings unimaginable changes in my life and career. Now, I am economically independent. I am treated well in the office and at home,” she said with confidence.

Speaking to The Hindu, Gunavathi said, “Many people were averse to talk to me. But, those who belittled me earlier called up to greet me. The hospital staff treated me as their colleague from day one. Mothers of newborn in the ward treat me as a woman. Though my chances of becoming a mother are ruled out, I enjoy my motherhood when I guard these babies. I feel like a mother. It gives me lot of pleasure…”

Gunavathi had earlier served with many NGOs and toured throughout the State. She was part of a campaign propagating AIDS control measures.

She had submitted a petition to Collector N. Venkatachalam for a job. When the Collector was searching for the right place for her, one of the security guards in the newborn ward was placed under suspension last week.

Immediately, Gunavathi’s petition was forwarded to the Joint Director of Health Services, C. Subramaniam, who, appointed the transgender as a security guard on a consolidated pay of Rs.4,000 under the National Rural Health Mission.

Gunavathi got luckier when the government revised the pay for this post two days back. Gunavathi, who lived with parents, was born to a farmer. After primary education in Oddanchatram, she finished schooling at Dudley Higher Secondary School, Dindigul, undergraduation at Palani Andavar Arts College, Palani, and postgraduation through correspondence course.

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