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Transgenders plant saplings

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SPIRIT OF SERVICE: Transgenders pledging to donate their eyes at the `Aravanis Day' celebration organised by the Native Medicare Charitable Trust (NMCT) in Coimbatore on Thursday. A.S. Sankaranarayanan, Director of NMCT, (third from left) and B. Moha mmed Ali, Block Medical Officer, Thudiyalur, (fourth from left), look on. Photo: M. Periasamy
SPIRIT OF SERVICE: Transgenders pledging to donate their eyes at the `Aravanis Day' celebration organised by the Native Medicare Charitable Trust (NMCT) in Coimbatore on Thursday. A.S. Sankaranarayanan, Director of NMCT, (third from left) and B. Moha mmed Ali, Block Medical Officer, Thudiyalur, (fourth from left), look on. Photo: M. Periasamy

Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: Transgenders vowed to contribute to the society by planting saplings and pledging to donate their eyes at the `Aravanis Day' celebration organised by Native Medicare Charitable Trust (NMCT), here on Thursday.

"We are also as much a part of society as others. We shall contribute to it to the best of our abilities," said M. Roja, who is part of NMCT's project for transgenders.

Most of the transgenders felt that they were largely isolated and ridiculed by society and wanted the situation to change. "When there are so many days to celebrate various occasions, why can't we have a day for our community?," Roja added.

Around 300 transgenders agreed to donate their eyes. They would also plant at least 10,000 saplings at Arivoli Nagar in Periyanaickenpalayam.

NMCT has been working with them since 2003 and has been trying to help them cope with the problems of finding an identity, said K. Jeya Ganesh, Project Co-ordinator, NMCT. "They are not given a ration card, voter identity or house site and these are just their most basic demands," Mr. Ganesh said. NMCT had also assisted a group of transgenders to form an association, `TAI Vizhuthukal,' so that they can take the lead in empowering themselves.

"There will be a day when transgenders will be accepted in society and they too will be treated with respect," said A.S. Sankaranarayanan, Director of NMCT.

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