She walked into the hall with an aura of a celebrity and apologised for the 30-minute delay, blaming the make-up and traffic snarl for it. Even though her first show is still to go on air, Rose is already a star. She is the first transvestite to host a show in Indian television history.
The 28-year-old from Chennai will host a talk show on Star Vijay, a popular Tamil TV channel. Titled Ippadikku Rose (Yours Rose), the show will discuss various social issues, including those that are taboo — like her own misunderstood sexuality.
An engineering graduate with two Master degrees from the US, Rose was born a boy. “I used my male identity to complete my education and only three years ago I announced ‘my coming out’,” Rose told a crowded press meet in Chennai.
Rose hopes that the show will change the image of transvestites, most of whom have been forced into begging or to live as sex workers by a society that shuns or ridicules them.
“There is a misapprehension that transvestites are those with deformed genitals. We are normal except that we are females trapped in a male body, wanting to be women, or vice versa,” she explained. Her family has now grudgingly accepted her.
Rose, who now works as a web designer, is also associated with non-governmental organisations. “Since I will not have a family, all I need is food, clothes and a decent place to sleep,” she said.
Pradeep Milroy Peter of Star Vijay said an institute that trained social workers introduced Rose to them. “As soon as Rose got talking on what she wanted to do, we knew we had a new star among us,” he said. The weekly show will be aired from December.