Thiruvananthapuram, May 10: The bride was ready and so was the bridegroom--just like any other marriage ceremony, but with a difference as the protagonists were transgender activists who entered wedlock here today. When Ishan tied the nuptial knot with his longtime friend Surya, it turned out to be to be the first legal transgender marriage in Kerala's history.
The couple also got their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act. They are the first transsexual couple to marry in Kerala, having undergone sex change surgeries some years ago. Besides members of their families and friends, the crowd in attendance included activists and some politicians. The marriage hall was tastefully decorated, the relatives and others jubilant with the centre of attention being the couple in their colourful attire.
The two, who are in their 30s, had braved several odds ranging from gender issues and religious barriers to societal stigma, to enter wedlock. Ishan, a woman once, and Surya, originally a man, had undergone sex change surgery some years ago. Looking graceful in a traditional silk saree and ornaments, Surya said she was excited about the new episode in her life. "We want to lead a normal family life and be a role model to our fellow community members," Ishan told reporters.
The ceremony at an auditorium in the heart of the city was marked by the presence of a number of transgenders, who danced to some foot-tapping film songs when the "bride" entered the auditorium. A number of dignitaries including former Rajya Sabha Member T N Seema (CPI-M), writer-activist J Devika, CPI-M councillor I P Binu were among those who attended the marriage function.
Hailing from a middle-class family at Vattiyurkkavu here, Surya, a well-known TV artiste, underwent the sex change surgery and became a woman in 2014. A member of a conventional Muslim family at Vallakkadavu here, 33-year-old Ishan is working with an NGO of transgenders. Both of them were estranged from their families for some time as the relatives were against their decision to change gender. But, when they decided to get married after surgery and expressed their desire to lead a normal life, their families gave their approval for the marriage and promised all support. Both Surya and Ishan are members of the government's Transgenders Justice Board.