Telugu states gets its first transgender pastor
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Sanjay Samuel Paul
Hyderabad: Anjali Kalyanapu was raised as a boy, but was discriminated against at home, bullied at school, and forced to beg on the streets as a result of insensitivity. The circumstances did not cause India's first transgender evangelist to lose her core strength; rather, they strengthened her.
This Christmas will be Anjali's most memorable, as the evangelist who was recently ordained as a pastor, the first in the Telugu states, will deliver sermons in the community and other churches.
"The body has gender but not the soul," Anjali said, quoting from the Psalm, "Stone which the builders refused has become the headstone of the corner." Dr Joy Cherian of the United Peoples Fellowship, while delivering a Christmas message at a special programme for transgender and sex workers in Secunderabad, ordained the 31-year-old with as a pastor.
Anjali was born into a Telugu family in Vijayawada. Her life was filled with pain, misery and hardship. "I faced numerous challenges. I was discriminated against at home, and I was bullied at school because of who I was. Churches once refused to give me the opportunity to preach. I was not permitted to preach to my community people. Churches were not open to members of my community. However, this discrimination is gradually fading, and churches are opening doors for us," Anjali said.
Anjali ran away to Mumbai, being unable to bear the pressure from her family and society 2007, and joined a group of transgender people. "I had to beg on the streets of Mumbai. Many sex workers who were my good friends used to take a rupee from me as a good luck token each night before going into the flesh trade in the streets of Kamatipura, a red light area. I discovered that the girl children of prostitutes also ended up in the same trade," Anjali explained.
The pastor, who has two honorable doctorates, has no complaints, but rather many positive takeaways. "I only see myself as a tool to glorify the Lord’s name," she said. Anjali believes that life presents both challenges and opportunities.
Anjali explained that the same city that forced her to beg on the streets of Hyderabad and Secunderabad also gave the opportunity to become a pastor. "People accept our community, and there is a great deal of awareness about our community that should be spread throughout society." Anjali's mission is to improve the lives of prostitute's children by providing a better life and future.