Ridiculed for long, the city’s transgenders and eunuchs finally have a place of their own to let their hair down. India’s first entertainment center-cum-club, exclusively for transgenders, is now open in East Delhi’s Bhajanpura.
Named Zeenat club, the center, launched by an NGO, has a gamut of entertainment and recreational services provided by and for the community under one roof. Sample this: Apart from a restaurant, there’s a fancy boutique selling designer garments, footwear and jewellry, a beauty parlour, and a fitness center with expert dieticians and weight-trainers.
“The club is an effort to bring some happy moments in the lives of transgenders, who are targets of social discrimination,” says Rupika Dhillion, project director of the NGO, SPACE (Society for Peoples’ Awareness, Care & Empowerment). “Setting up the club was tough. No one was willing to rent out a place to us. After great difficulties, we found this place in East Delhi,” she adds.
Mehek, a transgender who is a trained fashion designer, will be retailing her range of saris, suits and lehengas from the club. “Shopping is a challenge for us. We’re laughed at and people pass lewd remarks. But that will no longer be the case,” says Mehek, who offers a special discount for her community.
A beauty salon is being run by another transgender, Mausam, a makeup artist and stylist. “People in our community dress gaudy. And, since parlours don’t let us in, I’ll offer services to my community,” she says. The club members will also get to go on trips to tourist spots in the country.
Mallika, the client care officer at the club says, “We will pool in money for these trips.” Soon, the club will also screen films, particularly those on LBGT issues. There will also be an in-house book club.
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