Meet C Devi, Tamil Nadu’s First Transgender Candidate
C Devi, a 33-year-old transgender person, is set to take on AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in the RK Nagar constituency in Chennai.
She is the first transgender person in Tamil Nadu to contest the assembly elections. She will be contesting on behalf of the Tamil party, Naam Tamilar Katchi.
But Devi doesn’t see herself as standing against Jayalalithaa in the elections.
Devi hails from Salem and has worked with various NGOs from 2004, focusing on the empowerment of sex workers and transgender people. In 2009, she started a home called Thaimadi for the homeless, which now hosts more than 60 residents.
Talking about her election campaign, she said, “I’m going to focus on the upliftment of the poor, on providing clean drinking water and on better employment for the people in the constituency.”
She has been a member of Naam Tamilar Katchi for the past three years and took the plunge into politics because she feels politics offers the best opportunities for helping people.
One of the main problems faced by transgender people is the lack of acceptance by people, she said.
She pointed to recent statements by actor and Congress spokesperson Khushbu Sundar, in which she allegedly said that members of the transgender community are asking for big roles in politics without really working for it.
Devi was 16 years old when she realised she was a transgender person and wanted to undergo a sex-change operation.
Even though she faced opposition from her parents, she went ahead with the sex change operation when she was 17 years old.
Devi currently stays in RK Nagar with her mother, and runs the Thaimadi Trust.
(The author Pheba Mathew works with The News Minute.)