Meet India’s first transgender newsreader Padmini Prakash

Meet India’s first transgender newsreader Padmini Prakash

India’s first transgender news anchor has appeared on regional television just months after the country’s Supreme Court recognised transgender people as a legal third gender. Padmini Prakash, 31, worked as a dance instructor and acted in soaps before being recruited to Lotus News in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. She told the Times of India she was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and has faced discrimination throughout her life. But she has won widespread praise since her first broadcast in August. “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,” Ms Prakash said. Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to become the face of the daily 7pm news bulletin. G.K.S. Selvakumar, chairman of Lotus News, told the Times of India the channel was “very supportive”. “After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor,” he said. 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....
What was Sky TV’s Ladyboys series about?

What was Sky TV’s Ladyboys series about?

The Sky Living TV series, Ladyboys was aired in the United Kingdom in April 2012 and at the end of the year in Australia. More recently it has been shown in the Phillipines and seems to be repeated constantly on Sky TV Due to copyright control I am unable to feature Ladyboys on this site. Here, is a synopsis of each episode in Series 1, from an ‘inside’ point of view. Episode 1-Beauty Queens I have spent hours of my life watching Ladyboy pageants and as far as I am concerned they are hours I can never get back! Annie loves them of course especially as she was a cabaret dancer in Samui herself. Tiffany’s is a profitable commercial business and I think that it is important to remember that. The transgender people featured in this episode are following their dreams and the chance to win 10,000 USD. For an entry fee of 500 USD and a lot of beauty treatment, fame and a cash prize of 10,000 USD awaits. Although they may be lovely people they can rarely compete with Thai Ladyboys in terms of feminine looks or grace. It seemed to me, as an observer, that the most feminine did not get into the top rankings. The only ladyboys who are able to compete on equal footing are Phillipino, Thai and to some degree South Americans although they tend to be a little bigger. Now, I am not suggesting that all Thai ladyboys are paragons of beauty and grace or even that they all look exactly like women. In fact, very few ladyboys could be mistaken for...

Transgender Indians’ seatbelt safety video

  An Indian video campaign to persuade drivers to wear seatbelts shows transgender actors taking to the streets of Mumbai in imitation of an airline safety demonstration.   An Indian video campaign to persuade drivers to wear seatbelts shows transgender actors taking to the streets of Mumbai in imitation of an airline safety demonstration. They have appeared in sacred Hindu texts and been part of South Asia’s culture for thousands of years. They have been asked to bless marriages and births and are often seen across India blessing motorists in return for cash. Now hijras – better known in India as transgender people – have emerged as the unlikely stars of a new road safety campaign. The Seatbelt Crew features transgender dancers in a short film, created on behalf of a personal protection app Vithu by the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, has become an internet hit, clocking up more than one and a half million views since it was uploaded three days ago. The adverts shows the hijras clapping to a routine inspired by an air cabin crew. “If you’re going to drive like a pilot,” says one, “then you should know some things.” They then go on to explain to motorists the dangers of driving recklessly and without a seatbelt. Prejudice prevails Transgender people have suffered due to antiquated criminalisation laws dating back to when the British ruled in India. The country’s Supreme Court last month finally ruled that transgender people would be recognised on official documents under a separate “third gender” category. The decision was cheered by activists, who say that, despite its distinguished history, the...
Talking football with the (wo)man of the match

Talking football with the (wo)man of the match

Talking football with the (wo)man of the match A boutique nail and beauty bar isn’t the obvious location to interview a footballer of international standing – but then Jayeih Saelua is no ordinary footballer. A 6ft 2 central defender for American Samoa’s men’s team – Jayeih is known for crunching tackles and crucial goal line clearances. But Jayeih also has long vermillion nails and sleek glossy hair that reaches almost to the small of her back. Jayeih is transgender – in lay terms, a woman born into a man’s body. A woman whose parents gave the name “Johnny”. Talking football with the (wo)man of the match Her team – American Samoa – were previously known as the side that infamously lost 31- 0 to Australia in a World Cup qualifier. But that was before a new coach revitalised the team and recruited new players. One of whom is Jaiyeh – who has accidentally become the star of a new documentary ostensibly following the team’s on field fortunes. And “Next Goal Wins” also tackles an issue at the cutting edge of sport. Transgender footballer Jaiyeh is the world’s first transgender footballer to play on the international stage – not just in meaningless friendlies, but in the world cup qualifiers. Jaiyeh is in London to promote her film. While a beauty therapist fixes a broken nail and massages moisturiser into her palms, we discuss who is going to win the World Cup. It’s hard to imagine someone like Jaiyeh ever playing for the England men’s team. But American Samoa is rather different. For when she first took the field, Jaiyeh says...