Thiruvanananthapuram: After bringing out the first Transgender Policy in the country and introducing free Sex Realignment Surgery through government hospitals, Kerala is all set to create yet another benchmark for mainstreaming the transgender (TG) population. It will host the country's first ever Transgender Athletic Meet in Central Stadium here on April 28. Being a pioneering event, the meet will be held in a single day and will have only six events: 100m, 200m, 400m sprints, 4x100m relay, shot put and long jump.
Mr Sanjayan Kumar, director of Sports and Youth Affairs, said at least 20 transgender athletes from each of the 14 districts are expected to take part. Each athlete can take part in a maximum of three events, apart from the relay. The district sports councils will start pre-meet training for TG athletes in their area from April 19. “We had met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and had told him that TGs were not represented in any of the sports event in the state,” said Chilla Anil, a leading transgender activist and the state coordinator of Bengaluru-based NGO Sangama.
“The CM had some discussions with leading sports figures and the Sports Council then decided to conduct a meet on an experimental basis. This meet will kind of test the waters, and provide an idea as to how we should conduct such sports events in future,” Mr Anil said. The event is expected to throw up fresh talents. “Talent is generally suppressed within the community but it already has quality athletes like Sreekutty who had participated in school meets,” Mr Anil said. (Sreekutty had then competed in the boys’ category.) Though the TG community is now seeking an event exclusively for them, the International Olympic Committee had issued guidelines in 2016 stating that TG athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery.