Transgender Resource Centre’s founder and head Priya Babu is all smiles. After two years of initially conceptualising her dreams of running a magazine for members of the transgender community, she has finally succeeded, she says.
“Trans News is finally live,” she announces.
Her Tamil and English e-magazine, which shines light on transgender history, trans rights, cinema, fashion and even has segments on health, make up and cooking, is sure to help more people see the achievements of the community, she says. The e-magazine was born in a home-cum office in Madurai.
Priya hopes that the magazine helps break stereotypes and provides the community a space to voice their opinion. The magazine features trans writers and trans models. It has a section to alert the community on job availability and an online shop to showcase the products sold by transgender persons.
“What began two years ago as a means to document our daily lives is now seeing the light of the day. We too need a space to showcase our beauty, our history and our role in society. I hope this magazine helps,” she says.
Priya has been an advocate of trans rights for almost two decades. Her organisation- Transgender Resource Centre in Madurai- has 170 books on members of the community. The centre has also documented news clippings of the community, to ensure that it can be used for research. Priya is also a filmmaker and regularly engages with students across Tamil Nadu about the rights of members of the trans community.
Although she has helped write books and has made a documentary film on trans rights, she says that she found the need to create a platform to record their daily thoughts and to capture the mood of the current times.
“I had earlier registered a magazine titled ‘Aval Nangai’ [She’s a Woman], hoping to create a print edition of the magazine. All the base work and the registration of the title was done. However, Covid-19 hampered all the preparation that we had done. We then decided to convert it to an e-magazine. Our writers all approved and we were ready to go,” she says.
Priya says that articles will be updated every three days to ensure variety.
The magazine’s writers include Padmini Prakash from Coimbatore, Viji from Chennai and Jeeva Rangaraj from Chennai, who will be regular contributors in Tamil. “A number of student volunteers have shown interest in helping us so they will be in-charge of translations. Secretary of TRC, Mahalakshmi Raghavan, will take a final look at our English version,” she says.
The magazine’s beauty segment features six trans women showcasing different ways of doing makeup. “I feel like the magazine will be an instrument in encouraging more people from our community to come forward and write, model and share their lives,” she says.
Priya says that the magazine’s first edition was created without any help from professionals. This home-grown brand hopes to evolve into a strong voice and lead the way for several other trans people to take charge of their own narrative.
In her first editorial note she writes, “Of course, the journey was not a bed of roses, it was filled with thorns of bullies, discrimination, economical crisis and abuses. This magazine aims at the future generation should not face the difficulties we have faced, so through our pen we are trying to root out the thorns in the path to reach their destination.”