Transgenders take up Silambam to break gender barriers in sports

Transgenders undergoing Silambam training at Thoppampatti near Coimbatore.  

When a group of transgenders from Coimbatore wanted to venture into sports, the first thing that came to their mind was Silambam – an ancient form of martial art from Tamil Nadu that has earned global recognition.

Around 25 transgenders from Kavundampalayam area ensure that they are present on a ground at Thoppampatti, near Coimbatore, in the evening hours, where their coach B. Prabhu trains them in Silambam.

Sports quota

“This is a big step taken by a group of transgenders towards securing their place in [traditional] sports. Like in many other fields, transgenders need to come up in sports. In future, they can also request for sports quota for the third gender while applying for government jobs and admissions,” says Mr. Prabhu, a trained wrestler and Silambam player who is providing the free training for the transgenders.

The group of transgenders headed by S. Anushya received the push to learn Silambam from ‘Mangaiyanavan Foundation’, which was started by seven women coaches with an aim to bring the third gender people into sports.

“We, the seven women, felt that transgenders were not getting the encouragement and support to get into sports. Most of the transgenders used to play any of the popular games in their childhood. After becoming the third gender, they lack support and do not get the space to practice sports,” says Jamuna Rajavelappan, managing trustee of the foundation.

To give the initial push, the transgenders were trained on handball and a match was held for them on the International Women’s Day. Prizes were also distributed.

Now, they learn Silambam from Mr. Prabhu for two hours in the evening, except on Sundays.

“We have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter into sports. Mangaiyanavan Foundation and Mr. Prabhu came forward to support us. Now, our aim is to take the message to more transgenders in Coimbatore and Tamil Nadu. In future, we expect separate sports meet for transgenders at the State and national levels,” said Ms. Anushya, a transwoman taxi driver.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 10:32:41 AM |

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