India gets first transgender news anchor
Kathmandu, (Pahichan), October 20-As a first ever transgender news anchor in India, Padmini Prakash, 31, has appeared on regional television just months after the country’s Supreme Court legalised the legal third gender.
According to Times of India, she won widespread praise since her first broadcast in Lotus News in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in August.
The news report says, Padmini used to work as a dance instructor and acted in soaps before being recruited to the news channel Lotus News in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. She was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and has faced discrimination throughout her life.
“I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me,” Times of India quoted Ms Prakash.
Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to be the face of the daily 7pm news bulletin. “After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor,” G.K.S. Selvakumar, chairman of Lotus News, told the Times of India.
Ms Prakash has been involved in transgender rights activism in the past, protesting against the discrimination, harassment and stigma experienced by sexual minorities in India.
Campaigners estimate there are hundreds of thousands of transgender people in the country but because they were not legally recognised until earlier this year, they have been ostracised, faced abuse and often been forced into prostitution.
In April, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling recognised transgender as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure equal treatment.
Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh have also legally recognised the transgender community. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 granted full legal recognition to transgender people in the UK and the British system, unlike many others, does not require gender reassignment surgery.