செவ்வாய், 27 ஜூலை, 2010


My first book, Aravanigal Samuga Varaiviyal, is an ethnographic study of the community of the transgendered. The research work emanated from my association with the National Folklore Support Centre. For an individual fellowship, I extensively travelled in Virudhunagar, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Salem and Cuddalore and the Union Territory of Puducherry, collecting materials for the research work.
During the study, I was able to find that as many as 20 temples, apart from the Koothandavar shrine in Villupuram district, have been built for Aravan [the patron god of transsexuals]. I could see several transgender persons involved in cultural activities in some of the southern districts, including Virudhunagar and Tuticorin.
All these facts fuelled my desire to do an ethnographic study of the community. Prior to this I had thoroughly gone through the ethnographic studies of the Narikoravar and Parathavar communities. Aravanis are generally viewed as persons begging for alms at the bazaar, clapping. But the public seldom knows that transsexuals have a life and their own family structure. The book speaks of the origin of Aravanis; their historical and cultural background; their language, family structure, biological changes, beliefs and rituals; and their relations with the rest of society.

My second book, Moonram Paalin Mugam (Third Gender’s Face), deals with the emotions of transgendered persons during their transition from being a male to a transgender.

We are making serious efforts to create an information and resource centre in Chennai to enable people to have access to information about the life of the transgendered in different parts of the country.

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