Jaiprakash is the first transgender in Tiruvannamalai district to get a government job.

From begging on the road to a job where she is loved a TN transgender womans journey
news Gender Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 20:29

Jaiprakash has just finished her school day. Draped in a delicate yellow saree, she appears nervous but excited at the same time to go to her parents’ house for the Deepavali holidays. Despite being the first transgender in Tiruvannamalai district to get a government job, her family hasn’t fully come to terms with her gender identity.  

In February, 24-year-old Jaiprakash was given the post of noon meal organizer at Erpakkam government primary school.  Coming under the Kolathur panchayat, the school has 18 students. 

Elaborating on her role, she says, “I come in the morning and check the attendance sheet as to how many children are present today. Then I check the ingredients for the meal and tell the cook what to make. Then I have to make sure that the children are eating properly.” 

With a four-hour work day, Jaiprakash returns home, a kilometre away from school, at 1:30pm.  “I usually go back home and do household work. I’m also learning tailoring these days,” says Jaiprakash.

But life has been far from easy for her. She was born at Kilpennathur taluk in Tiruvannamalai district in 1992.  “Between 10-15 years, I began realising that I was a transgender woman. When I told my parents and they could not believe it,” she recounts.

At home, her parents refused to accept her as a transgender, while at the government school, where she studied, Jaiprakash was mocked by her classmates. “My classmates used to call me names and abuse me. My parents used to keep scolding me for talking like a girl and wearing make-up,” she narrates.

After finishing Class XII, Jaiprakash joined the Government Arts College in Tiruvannamalai to fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher. But she dropped out in the third semester after finishing one-and-a-half years in college.

“It was worse than school," recalls Jaiprakash “They would make fun of me for being a transgender woman and I could not take it anymore,” she says.

Fed up of everything, Jaiprakash went to Bengaluru, taking to begging on the streets with her friends. But after a year, she returned to Tamil Nadu, making Erpakkam village her new home. 

“I did not like begging but no one was ready to give me a job, I tried getting jobs at petrol pumps and book shops but had to continue begging,” she explains.

Early this year, she applied for the government job and was elated when she was accepted.  “I feel very satisfied with this job. The children love me and all the teachers and villagers are good to me,” says Jaiprakash.

Observing that though more people are beginning to accept transgender people, she believes society needs to help provide them jobs. While she now regrets dropping out of college because of the bullying, Jaiprakash says transgender people should study and apply for jobs despite the insults that they may face. 

“Jaiprakash is very sincere at her work and seeing her, I feel we should encourage more transgender people to take up government jobs,” says J Venkatesh, headmaster of the school.  

With the school closed for the next few days for Deepavali, Jaiprakash calls out to the students to say goodbye. As the children run to her side, it appears she has finally found the acceptance that she had been longing for. 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.