It all started with a thought of embracing all and sundry and wiping out the ugly discrimination and prejudices based on one’s gender that always get in the way of individual and societal evolution at large.
Little by little, the effort has transformed many lives in Coimbatore as it has shown people inclusiveness is the beauty of living and that there cannot be a set pattern to define the existence of a human being who does not conform to your idea of the world. The world is diverse, versatile and therefore inexplicably beautiful.
Anjali Ajeeth Jain was crestfallen to come across the apathy and ignorance of so many people, but she decided to take matters in her hands. Tired of convincing people to provide employment opportunities to transgender people, Anjali has come up with a computer centre VGJA communication center in Saidapet in city that is entirely managed by five transgender women who will be helping with browsing, printouts, spiral binding, photocopy etc. “They were very keen on and good at this. One will be heading a team of four.”
Anjali does not run any NGO. It’s all her individual efforts from home with enormous support from family. “I have been working for the transgender persons in Coimbatore since 2005. It was a difficult time as there was not much acceptance and there was a lot of taboo. All that were identified with them by the discriminating people were begging and prostitution.
I started working alone and as I made a lot of friends from the community, I learnt that 95% of them have a sad story to share - they are shunned by their own families when they start identifying with their real selves at early adolescence.
They have already been struggling with their bodies and when they come out in the society, they have to fight for acceptance.”
To give them an even more dignified life, Anjali plans on making a hostel for the people who are often denied rooms purely based on their identity, and a small restaurant too - both will be on the same concept and managed by transgender women.
Anjali has always been into uplifting “her friends” and has worked towards it - be it providing sewing machines, setting up small catering business or even giving away make-up kits so that they can provide professional services.
Talking about the hindrances to reaching the goal, Anjali exclaims, “When I started, it would be particularly difficult to meet them as they won’t be allowed in coffee shops or restaurants. So I had to go visit them at their places where they lived in groups. And it was very difficult to convince the people to trust my friends and that they are very talented.” Anjali cannot cease to remember dearly her friends who has been with her throughout her work - Shobana Kumar who has been making a lot of difference with her NGO ‘Small Differences’ and Taslima Nasreena, an employee of Shobana’s NGO, who takes care of an entire ward of abandoned elderly people in government hospital of Coimbatore. Anjali goes back to the turning point of her life that changed her life forever. “I met Taslima 7 years ago. She was drunk and was begging for money outside a clinic. I told her I would help her.”