BENGALURU: For Revathi - one of the senior most hijras in Bengaluru, the Supreme Court order nullifying Section 377 IPC is a singular victory for the marginalised in the LGBT community. “We live on the periphery of law. No one comes to our aid. The police victimises the hijras, who are caught between the goondas and the police. We are not English speaking lobbyists and are always looked down upon as people, who deserve to be brutalized,” she said.
“I started my journey begging on the roads of Delhi and Mumbai. I came to Bengaluru more than two decades ago and soon got involved in sex work to earn my living. Those were the days when HIV/AIDS had just become public and there was a huge scare that it was being spread by the LGBT community. We could not ask our clients have protected sex and all that we were given was a meagre Rs 50 to 60,” she added.
Revathi joined Sangama in 1999 and under the National AIDs Control Organisation (NACO) she was paid Rs 1,500 to distribute condoms to sex workers and sexual minority people, who would meet each other clandestinely. “I till then did not know about Section 377. Sangama exposed me to advocacy issues and awareness programmes. Hijras and transgenders are the worst affected people in the community. I wrote my autobiography - ‘The Truth About Me,’ which was published in 2008 by Penguin. In 2016 I wrote another book on trans-activism. I am 50 years old now and live in my village in Tamil Nadu because life in Bengaluru is way beyond my means,” Revathi said.