Transgender women beat the odds to land govt jobs in Tamil Nadu- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

VIRUDHUNAGAR: At a time when graduates with MBA degrees were in great demand, P Saranya was the exception. She graduated in 2009, but remained unemployed, not because of poor grades or lack of communication skills, but because of her sexual orientation because she is a transgender woman. She was offered the exit door every time she applied for teaching positions at private institutions, but Saranya refused to let companies introduce her.

It was similar to the case of Ramya Sri, a computer applications graduate with a degree in education, who was initially not accepted by her family when they learned about her sexuality. However, the Tide managed to make it through the hard times and get a respectable government job based on their qualifications.
A few months ago, the Virudhunagar district administration appointed Saranya as the head panchayat of the district resource center and Ramya Sri as the data entry operator.

District Collector G. Meghanath Reddy recalls that he was discussing with the officials to hire educated people when he came across the names of Saranya and Ramya Sri. There was a discussion about hiring educated people looking for jobs. It was then that I met two trans people who were also looking for work. I thought we should help them get jobs, which would also inspire other mutants.

However, getting the job was no cakewalk or charity. After she was eliminated, Saranya took up tutoring at home and later started her own coaching institute. “I started teaching kids in my area and liked my work, a few parents insisted that I teach their kids. That’s when I set up an institute,” Saranya told TNIE. Everything was going well until 2020 when a pandemic brought the world and her education program to a halt.

Saranya credits her mother for her success. “Fortunately, I had my mother’s support since I opened myself up about my sexuality during my school days. She believed in me and took out loans for my education.”
Since getting the job, she has been paying off the loan as well as managing her family’s expenses. This, she says, instills confidence in her. “Most importantly, I feel proud that I can plant the seeds of self-belief for all trans women in my community and change the way people view us.”

On the other hand, Ramya Sri’s upbringing was difficult. She recalls that when she first revealed her sexuality to her family, she was taken to psychiatrists and counselors. Soon she moved out of her parents’ house. “I stayed at Nagercoil for almost five years until my family accepted me,” she says, adding that she also wants to get a master’s degree in business administration.

“I gave up my MBA study due to financial constraints while living at Nagercoil,” says Rami. After prolonged health problems, among other hardships, Ramya’s mother asked her to come home and she has been supporting her ever since. Currently, Rami is pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). She describes the job as just the beginning and hopes to achieve more for the transgender community. She adds that every transgender person can achieve his dream and reach his peak if his family supports him.