Despite the recent strides made by the Kerala Government in ensuring the rights of transgender persons, we still have a long way to go. While initiatives that come from top-down help, a change in the grassroots level is significant in terms of the impact it creates in society.
In what can be hoped as one among many more firsts, a transgender person performed all traditional marriage rituals at his foster daughter’s wedding, which would be usually done by the father of the bride.
Pranathi Prakash, a co-ordinator for Mysore’s Ashodaya Samithi, which works for transgender and sexworkers welfare, was the lucky father. The daughter, Sneha, married Santhakumar, a driver from the city, at a local choultry. She is actually the daughter of Prakash’s sister Renuka and her husband Nandakumar, from whom she was informally adopted ten years ago.
Though her biological parents are alive, it was Prakash who stood in her father’s stead. Most of the Hindu rituals like the Kanyadaan revolve around the father of the bride. Prakash took part in all the rituals, said KT Venu, a facilitator at Ashodaya, to TOI.
There have been previous instances of a transgender person performing rituals like Kanyadaan in other southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. That has not been the case in Karnataka, until now.