India’s first ever transgender sports meet in Kerala a runaway hit

More than 130 athletes belonging to the third sex participated in six disciplines in the first ever sports meet for the sexual minority in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
Kerala hosted India’s first ever athletic meet for transgenders in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.(Twitter)
Kerala hosted India’s first ever athletic meet for transgenders in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.(Twitter)
Updated on Apr 29, 2017 06:46 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByRamesh Babu, Thiruvananthapuram

It had all the sound and fury of a mega sports event. Kerala on Friday successfully organised a sports meet for transgenders, the first of its sort in the country.

At least 130 athletes belonging to the third sex participated in the event that was well appreciated by a good crowd of onlookers at the central stadium at the heart of the state capital.

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Some of the events like 100m sprint witnessed a photo finish. “It was a runaway hit. This time there was no age bracket. But next time we will classify events as junior, senior and other levels. It will be an annual event now,” said Sreekutty president of the Sexual and Gender Minority, an organisation working for the uplift of third sex.

Transgender athletes take part in the march past during a sports event in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. (Twitter)
Transgender athletes take part in the march past during a sports event in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. (Twitter)

As a maiden meet, there were only six disciplines — 100, 200 and 400m sprints and 4x100m relay, shot put and long jump. Next time organisers are planning to introduce more events.

“It is a good beginning. Kerala sport council will give all support to the next meet year,” said sports council vice-president Mercy Kuttan, a former Indian long jumper.

“We are really bowled over by the cheers and encouragement of the audience. Hundreds turned up to witness our event. It really shows society is slowing changing their attitude towards the sexual minority,” said Sreekutty who had earlier participated in district-level sports in general category.

In the next meet, venue yet to be decided, organisers are expecting more than 200 athletes.

Kerala was the first state to formulate a transgender policy, aimed at ending the discriminatory treatment and bringing transgenders to the mainstream.

The state set up a transgender justice board to deal with their complaints, and a separate column, called intersex, was introduced in the birth and death registration form. Also, it was made mandatory for all government buildings to have separate washrooms for the third sex.

The efforts have paid off to some extent as S Shyama, a transgender woman, enrolled for her PhD last week after completing her postgraduate course. Still, members of the community feel society has yet to open up.

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