Wedding
There were at least 500 people in attendance – members from the transgender community from across the state.

A dapper-looking groom in a brown suit, an elated bride in a traditional red saree and dripping with jewellery, hundreds of guests taking photos and selfies, people breaking out into song and dance as the chenda melam reaches its crescendo – Kerala’s first registered wedding of a trans couple was a grand function.

Ishan announced his wedding to well-known trans activist and TV anchor Surya in April. Ever since then, the transgender community in Kerala has been in a tizzy, trying to organise and curate the wedding that took place on May 10.

The grand function saw at least 500 people in attendance – members of the transgender community from across Kerala came to Thiruvananthapuram just for the function, and many activists and family members of the couple, apart from media members, were present.

Pic: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair 

Prominent personalities at the function included former MP TN Seema, activist and academic J Devika, Kadakampally Surendran, Mayor VP Prasanth, dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi and Ward Councillor IP Binu.

The function started with prominent members of the transgender community receiving Ishan and his family at National Club in Thiruvananthapuram. They garlanded him and his family and led them inside the hall — which was grandly decorated with flowers and balloons — with much fanfare. 

Next, Surya, who made for a picture-perfect bride in her grand red saree and gold jewellery, was escorted to the stage by a bevy of friends dancing around her. A visibly elated looking Surya smiled and waved to the crowd as the dancers twirled around her.

As people vied to take photos with the couple, a thali was produced and Ishan tied it around Surya’s neck. The crowd screamed and clapped as the couple exchanged garlands.

“I am a transgender person and I am so elated to be here. The community’s visibility has only been increasing. In fact, even just 2-3 years ago, it would not have been possible for us to hold such a grand wedding in public in the heart of Kerala. But look at this!” beams Sisly Jose, a trans activist from Kozhikode who came for the wedding. “This is a step forward for us.”

Pic: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair 

The couple had decided early on that they wouldn’t have any religious ceremonies as both came from different religions. Hence, there were no rituals in the function.

They will now register their marriage formally at the registrar's office.

Guests could not have been happier to attend the wedding – everyone could be seen smiling and laughing and, as soon as the function finished, there was a rush to take photos with the ecstatic couple.

“This is beyond what we expected. I have no words to express my happiness at being here,” says Keerthi, a transgender person from Thiruvananthapuram. “The atmosphere is like any other wedding in any other family, where everyone is just happy to be there.”

As the photo session went on in full swing, other guests began breaking out into impromptu song and dance performances. Some others went to the lunch hall to eat the traditional sadya that had been arranged.

Pic: Sreekesh Raveendran Nair 

“This is such a huge step for the trans community,” says Jagadish Babu, who came from Kovalam to attend the wedding. “No one should think that the transgender community should be denied happiness or opportunities to live like anyone else. This is indeed a big step forward.”

Read: Meet Ishan and Surya, the trans couple who will soon register their marriage in Kerala