In a nation where transgenders are shunned and looked down upon by the society, 23-year-old S. Swapna, who hails from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, dreams of becoming a policy-maker to strive for the uplift of her community.
A recipient of several academic distinctions, Swapna has faced impossible odds just to achieve something that most of us take for granted — education. Disowned by her parents, Swapna was forced to seek assistance from the government to fulfil her goals. When she appeared for the UPSC prelims, the application form had only male/female category, while the ‘others’ option was missing. This forced her to look for different option.
Swapna said: “I had no option, but to apply under the female category for Group 2 exams this year. I cannot avail any benefits under the category for myself. After several representations to the TNPSC officials, they promised to accept my demand and announced that I will be given reservation, but later they went back on their promise.”
“I have endured a lot of pain to reach this point in life. In India, transgenders are looked down upon and are ostracised by the society. Their basic survival, sources of income and everything are snatched and they are forced to lead a miserable life,” rued Swapna.” Failure on part of the government to recognise the transgender status dashed Swapna’s hopes of securing a government job. “We are only asking for our fundamental rights. The State should treat us on a par with other genders,” she added.
Voicing concerns on educational and employment opportunities, transgender activist Barathi Kannamma said: “We need the government to recognise our community as the transgender and offer reservation for us.”
Madurai Collector L. Subramanian promised to forward her petition to the department concerned.