N Ragini and Dr Solu are very excited to be in Chennai. The reason? They’re among the 19 awardees selected by Born2Win (B2W), a social welfare trust that was formed by a trans woman, Swetha, in 2013. B2W aims to create a platform for empowering the trans community through education and employment.
Ragini, who is from Thanjavur, received the 'Born2Win Trans Woman Trailblazer of the Year' 2018 for being the first trans woman auto driver in the country. “There were times when trans persons were not even respected. But now, we’ve come to a point when we’re being recognised and encouraged. I am very happy to be born a trans woman. I hope all trans persons reach greater heights,” she gushes.
Dr Solu, who is originally from Madurai, received the 'Born2Win Trans Woman Physiotherapist of the Year' 2018. She has been working for children with special needs for over six months.
The sixth edition of Born2Win’s Annual Trans* Achiever Awards, was held at Rani Seethai Hall in Chennai on April 17. This event was to mark National Transgender Persons Day which is celebrated on April 15.
The awardees also included Sri Devi, a prolific social worker who was also the first trans person to stand for elections on the ticket of a political party. She contested against the late former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa as a candidate of Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK), and Maniammal who been preparing food as 'annadhanam' for devotees outside temples in Trichy for over 30 years.
Tiruchi Siva, Member of Parliament, who was responsible for the introduction of the Transgender Bill and director Arun Prabhu of Aruvi fame were some of the others who were also honoured at the event.
“Born2Win is the first organisation in the country to give out awards for trans persons. We’ve recognised almost 100 trans persons so far. We also hope to publish a book on the trans community’s history. While there are people who come forward to help the community, it is also important that they learn the community’s history,” says Swetha Sudhakar C, founder.
Divya S Sarathy, COO of B2W says, “There’s got to be a behavioural shift. The award function aims at creating role models that trans youngsters can look up to.”
True to its cause, the award function has inspired quite a few trans women to take up vocational training of their choice. The event on April 17 saw several members of the trans community and non-members gather in support of the movement that’s hoping to change the way in which society views a trans individual.