Right from navigating daily challenges like transportation to basic necessities like using public toilets, hardship for transgender women is an everyday affair, shared Shanthi Muniswamy, an artist who was part of team, ‘Nava’.
The Serendipity Arts Festival witnessed ‘Nava’, a play that showcased the stories of nine urban transwomen through the 9 rasas (Navarasa).
The play directed by Sharanya Ramprakash portrayed the stories of these transwomen, who have never been on stage before, but have finally woken up to bring their bodies, voices and stories, which have been deliberately silenced and willfully ignored to reclaim their rightful place – the centrestage.
Muniswamy, who identifies herself as a transwoman, is grateful to Rampraskash for his unique production and being their voice.
Sometimes, rehearsal practices were not possible due to different lifestyles. However, they connected and strengthened their act for which she credits her director for tapping the talent in them.
Speaking about the core concept of the play, Muniswamy added, "It was through a workshop that was conducted by Sharanya Ramprakash. The concept emerged through this workshop as we were sharing our life stories which included different emotions that were highlighted in each story."
"The struggles and challenges are a daily part of our lives. For example, travelling from part A to part B is very difficult when it comes to public transport. We have male seats and female seats. Yet, no seats have been allotted for transgenders," Muiniswamy narrated.
"Even using public toilets is limited to stereotypes and not inclusive of the trans community. To add to these, there are less opportunities available at workplaces even though the Supreme Court has announced us as part of society. What we need is to be considered equal human beings whilst identifying us as transgender," Muniswamy concluded.