Tamil transgender people are referred to most commonly as 'Alis',
but now members of the community here refer to themselves as Aravanis.
They believe that o raise the status of this marginalized group
of people, emphasis must be on getting basic rights and facilities.
Only if they enjoy basic human rights - social and political - can
their self esteem grow.
Foundation has won a case in the High Court demanding voting rights
for Aravanis, but are still in the process of getting voter identity
cards. After much struggle, the Sudar Foundation was granted land
by the Government in Natarajapuram, near Chengulpet in Tamil Nadu,
where we have built houses for fifteen of our members. This is a
significant achievement given that housing remains a very serious
issue for Aravanis and possession of a house means mental peace
and comfort. Sudar Foundation has also initiated an Aravani self-help
group called the Meena-Mangai self-help group which has received
a grant of Rs25,000 from the Govt. for a revolving fund and some
members of our group are benefiting from this fund. Some are receiving
training in beautician techniques and we hope t take this forward
as a career option.
are just beginnings of a journey that we will continue till basic
respect and dignity to members of this community are assured in
law, society and all your hearts.
Foundation is also involved with Kannadi Kalai Kuzhu, a theater
group formed and run by the Aravanis (transgender people) in Tamil
Nadu. This is the first of its kind an we have a strong belief that
cultural expression is an effective way of expressing our 'being'
and our emotions.
first play in 2004 was called Manasin Azhaippu (The Call
of the Heart).
second play is Unsettling Memories (The life of Aravanis
- a glimpse), a 45 min play sponsored by M.S.Swamiathan Research
Foundation and Aseema Trust.