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India’s First Transgender News Anchor: Padmini Prakash

By Sep. 22, 2014
Padmini Parakash Image India's First Transgender TV News Anchor

Our nation is experiencing something of a cultural transgender revolution. Padmini Prakash from the state of tamilnadu has recently become India’s first transgender news reader by anchoring the prime time news bulletin of a regional news channel on the Indepndence day eve. It was a dream come true for Padmini, as she finds herself on top of the world, say’s it has freed herself from her social and personal demons.

At 7pm on Independence Day this year, when the lights went on and the cameras started rolling, in the Lotus News Channel studios at coimbatore, and she read out the day’s headlines from a teleprompter, Padmini became the first transgender television news anchor in the country.

Padmini has acted in a television serial and she’s dealt with various kinds of pressure in the past, especially during her days as a vocal social activist for transgender rights, protesting against the discrimination, harassment and stigma that sexual minorities face. But Padmini says she initially found it daunting to anchor a live news show because there is little leeway for error and it involves the responsibility of being unbiased and connecting with viewers.

“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,” Padmini said.

But she hit the ground running and has won praise from her employers, members of the transgender community and media veterans. A month after she started, Padmini has become the face of the Coimbatore-based Lotus News Channel’s daily 7pm special bulletin.

“We are supportive of Padmini because she is very hard-working,” Lotus News Channel chairman GKS Selvakumar said. “After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor.”

She told the Times of India that, she was disowned by her family when she told them she was transgender and has faced discrimination throughout her life. It is not the fate with Padmini Prakash, every transgender in our society faces the discrimination.

Padmini, who grew up in RS Puram in Coimbatore, was a first-year BCom student when she cut off all ties with her family and dropped out of college because she could no longer take the stigma and pressure. She travelled across the state and beyond and later returned to Tamil Nadu and became a Bharathanatyam dance instructor.

The transgender community in India are always under the terror of social discrimination and abuse as they are not even treated as part of the society and never gets any respect from the society. When identified as transgender, they get exhiled from their homes and left to the insecurity of the society. Campaigners say there are hundreds of thousands of transgender people in India but because they were not legally recognised, they have been ostracised, faced discrimination, abuse and often forced into prostitution.

It is four months, since the Supreme court of Inida in its historical judgement announced that trangenders, commonly called as ‘Hijras’ in india, should be treated as a third gender of the community and called on the government to ensure their equal treatment.

Padmini’s success is a welcome beginning, which could not only empower transgenders but also bring about a change in mindset of the common man towards the third gender.

Watch the landmark news broadcast on 15th August 2014:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1HXvAmsXQI]
Her popularity with viewers ensured a rapid promotion to be the face of the daily 7pm news bulletin.


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