Carrying the first-ever National Transgender Awards’ legacy further, the Tamil Nadu state government, on April 20, honoured the exceptional services of a 53-year-old transgender towards upliftment of the third gender in the state. The national recognition started its maiden conclave December 2021.
Gingee-based Marlima Muralitharan from Villupuram was honoured for her outstanding work towards upliftment of the third gender over the past 25 years. The award was presented by chief minister MK Stalin on behalf of the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department and carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. Also present on the occasion were Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Minister P Geetha Jeevan, chief secretary V.Irai Anbu and other officials.
With an aim to build a more inclusive society where transgenders find equal opportunities and are not discriminated against, the award intends to celebrate the efforts of those making it possible.
“I completed my graduation in civil engineering in 1995 and started my career at a time when transgenders were struggling to get recognition. Now I run a construction-related business. So far, I have helped 70 transgenders, who did not want to beg or land up in flesh trade and pornographic films,” shared the jubilant winner.
To her credit and entirely her funding, Marlima helped set up fruit juice outlets, dairy and poultry farms for eight transgenders. She has also bailed out many by helping secure jobs, while going out of her way to organise crowd-funding for some who wanted to build their own homes.
At the award ceremony, her speech thanked the state government. “I wish that the administration helps out the thousands of transgenders who face ostracization from society even where it comes to renting out flats. We want to live with respect and not be reduced to becoming objects of sexual perversity alone,” she shared.