Chennai: A 20-year-old transgender woman married a cisgender man at a temple despite several impediments in Thoothukudi on Wednesday.
P. Srija, a college student married her boyfriend of over a year in a temple ceremony even though temple officials and the HR&CR department refused to officiate their marriage. Srija broke into tears after the wedding, one of her friends said, as they welcomed the couple outside the temple. Their love story, was like no other, they said, as they had to overcome more hurdles than a ciscouple would have to.
The temple that the couple was to get married at was the biggest obstacle as the Hindu Marriage Act does not allow for a transgender to marry a man. When Srija’s friend went to the temple counter to ask for a marriage receipt so that they could produce it to the priest who would then hand the thaali to Arun Kumar, the groom, the temple management reportedly refused. They even handed the money they had paid back to them and asked them to go away, they said.The couple had reportedly visited the temple the previous day and paid Rs 600 for the preparations for the next day. They had also informed HR&CE officials who did not guarantee any sort of permission for their wedding.
When the couple arrived on Wednesday morning, the officials refused to formally register the wedding while other members of the transgender community gathered and argued that it was perfectly legal. The couple’s biggest support was the transgender community itself, Srija says, as they took care of all preparations. After the temple officials refused to officiate the wedding, the quick-thinking couple contacted their friend Bharani a transwoman and a friend who works as a priest in the same temple. With Bharani doing the rituals of the temple, everything ran smooth, a friend of Srija’s said.
Having been together for over a year, they only got the confidence to marry after the Section 377 verdict, said a happy Srija, after the wedding. “This refusal was a shock to us because we are both Hindus. Why can’t we get married in a temple? But thanks to the support of the media and the police, we were able to get married. I have been very lucky” Srija said.
The couple, who then proceeded to register their wedding, met an understanding registrar who only asked that they get an attested letter from a notary public instead of a marriage receipt....