Just about a year after they were married, trans woman Akkai Padmashali and her partner Vasu, an LGBTQI activist, have broken the norms yet again.
On Tuesday, the happy couple registered their marriage in Bengaluru, and Akkai reportedly became the first transgender person in Karnataka to have done so.
Akkai and Vasu got married on January 20, 2017 after being in a relationship for eight years. It took a year to register the marriage as Vasu had to put together various documents and Akkai, a transgender rights activist, was busy working on various issues.
They applied for the registration in December last year and it came through within the stipulated period of 30 days, on Tuesday.
As the couple waited at the sub-registrar’s office in KR Puram, they were accompanied by family and other members of the transgender community. Akkai said it was great to have a mixed group of people them, and that while the process was long due to the paperwork, everyone had been supportive.
A well-known transgender rights activist, Akkai runs Ondede, (meaning ‘convergence’ in Kannada), an organisation that aims to create awareness about sexuality, sexual diversity and the right to choose one’s sexual orientation. Vasu runs a laundry service in Magadi.
Vasu had proposed marriage to Akkai multiple times over the course of their relationship. However, Akkai had apprehensions about domestic violence at the time, which is why she turned him down.
“My friends and advisers then told me that marriage need not mean violence, and if two people support each other and are in love, it would work out. It took me eight years to understand that,” Akkai had told TNM.
Akkai said that now, she does not face any issues apart from the usual bureaucratic hurdles.
Other southern states do not appear to have documented cases of transgender persons registering their marriage. Activists tell TNM that many do not even want to make their relationships public because of the social stigma they face and the legal hurdles that comes after. One trans woman from Kerala, who has been in a long term relationship with her partner, said that they have been staying at their friend’s place, because no one would rent out an accommodation to them.