At a mass wedding in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, 15 transgender women celebrated their wedding day in a Hindu ceremonial style.
In a first of its kind, 15 transgender women got married to cisgender men in a mass wedding ceremony at Raipur, Chhattisgarh, on 30 March 2019. The nuptial procedure was done in a traditional Hindu ceremonial style. Taking a step towards gender equality, the event was organised by a producer of the Chitragahi Films of Mumbai and transgender people from different states came to tie the knot and celebrate the event.
This event was planned by Raipur based transgender and social activist Vidhya Rajput and her team. “It was believed that transgenders don’t marry, but this day in Raipur sends a message across the entire world that India is very liberal and people are very sensitive towards all genders”, said Vidya Rajput.
India’s transgender community had no legal acceptance until 2014. It was the NALSA judgment in April 2014, that gave them the right to self-recognition. The NALSA judgment spoke about provision for reservations for transgender people across government and private sectors. This did give hope to the transgender community. However, 4 years later, Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018, proposed having a board of people to determine whether an individual can be identified as transgender or not, based on their genitals. This brought rage to the transgender community and sparked protests across India.
But, in September 2018, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment decriminalising Section 377. “I thought that the Supreme Court’s decision of bringing them into the mainstream and right to equality can only be fulfilled by bringing them together in relationships”, said Suresh Sharma, film producer.
A vital part of normalising conversation about transgender people begins with recognising the rights and needs of transgender people in our society. On April 2019, a court in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu ruled that a marriage between a transgender man and a transgender woman is valid. The Madras High Court held the term “bride,” as used in Section 5 of India’s Hindu Marriage Act, to be inclusive of transgender women.
The mass wedding of the transgender community in Raipur fulfilled the dreams of a lot of women from the trans community. “We too have dreams of elaborate weddings, wedding processions, etc. Today this dream is being fulfilled”, said Sandhya Kinnar from Raipur.
Denying a transgender person the right to express their gender is a violation. In the midst of mass marriage, this act of inclusion brings a sense of fairness and dignity towards the self-identification of gender for the community.
Video by Community Correspondent Bhan Sahu
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a member of VV Editorial Team.