This workshop is helping desperate transgender youth become proud young leaders

From fear and dejection to confidence and hope, these young transgender women walked out with pride of who they are.

April 25th, 2019. Sahodari Foundation and Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity began a major step in reaching out to desperate and deserving young transgender people and offering them a very useful and powerful youth leadership workshop which will lead them to empower their lives.

This workshop was conceived by Transgender right activist, artist and inspiring speaker Kalki Subramaniam to identify and groom young transgender persons in India to pursue their dreams of living with dignity and happiness, a life away from the melancholy of begging and sexwork.

Her idea came to a reality when she was invited to speak at Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity for speaking at their weekly meeting to its board members where she met Rotarian Suji Somasudaram of Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity who introduced her to the president of the club Rtn.Phf. Senthil Kumar.K, secretary and Rtn. MD.Vijayakumar.S. Kalki’s idea of a leadership workshop was immediately accepted as the club had the idea of conducting a RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) for transgender youth. Both the ideas were similar, just the names different.

In a week’s time, it became a reality. All thanks to the Rotary Club which came forward to support 70% of the costs for conducting this event. The rest 30% was funded by Sahodari Foundation

After quite a successful outreach, all the 20 seats were registered in a week’s time. Participants came from Kerala and Tamilnadu, from places as far as Chennai and Kannur. The program was conceptualised by Kalki and each segment, its activity and the invited speakers was carefully selected to give only the best knowledge and positive messages that will have deep impact on the young trans people. Kalki’s purpose was to change their mindsets from desperation and fear to hope and confidence. Though she has offered several workshops for the transgender community, this was the first time a full fledged leadership workshop was initiated

Transgender mentorship event participant

Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity was so open and welcoming in conducting a RYLA for TransYouth. On April 25th 2019 at 9.30 a.m, the workshop was inaugurated with Rtn. K.A Kuriachan as the chief guest of the event. The president of the Club, the secretary and board members were present during the inauguration. Mr.kuriachan told the importance of equality, unity , strength and believing in yourself , he guided transgenders towards confidence, self love and being strong. Special invitees A.Revathi and Olga Aaron were presiding the event. All the participants were excited for the day. Later the Rotarians of the club left wishing the participants their nest wishes.

The workshop started with Kalki’s speech on the purpose of the workshop and  how it is meant to help, support and empower the lives of participants. Though a one day workshop, she wanted to utilise every moment of time to its utmost potential. She requested to participants to be conscious of time and give their focus 100 percent. 

with self introductions of everyone and moved on to two groups, the young persons were grouped as four and were assigned to senior transgender leaders for trusting and opening their hearts to speak out their major personal hurdles and seek out advice from them. The mentorship started with trust building, experience sharing and non judgemental genuine advice seeking.

Young transgender persons at the mentorship workshop

The participants present were seated in circle they were encouraged to speak about their life backgrounds, giving us a picture in which ways each one of them needed help, support and guidance in shaping their future.

Everyone in the room hugged each other in the room to know that they were not alone and provoked unity in the trans community. The guest speaker of the afternoon first session Mr. Ramesh taught the participants on the art of living with clean mental and physical state through yoga and meditation practices. This session was direction to be a part of powerful human change through discipline and yoga practices for better and conscious living.

Transgender activist, writer and theatre personality A.Revathi narrated her painful yet inspiring life story and the oddities she faced and how it made her weak and facing it with courage made her strong and a leader among the community. The next session was followed by Mr.Arun Balakirishna bringing the participants great fun and laughter with some amusing brain and physical games which made the participants bend their body and mind.

Art curator and administrator of Art Houz Bridget Shibu Thomas of Jennys Club of Coimbatore gave a powerful talk about being non judgement about ones own creativity. She listed why self criticism is useless and thow he power of practice brings perfection.

Transgender activist, artist and entrepreneur Kalki Subramaniam was constantly motivating the participants, encouraging them to speak out, address their issues and inspired them to be not think themselves as victim of circumstances anymore but to be strong and change and design our own destinies with right decisions and how to take that right decisions.

Kalki Subramaniam at the transgender youth mentorship program

The last session of the day was conducted by transgender youth and upcoming artist V.Kanchana. She asked the participants to dream their ideas of themselves in five years. They were encouraged to visualise their life and dreams. some of them wants to be a mother, a model, a dancer, a winner , a leader and just like they all have their own ideas of love and life they can be a human resource in the society.

Sara visualises her future

At the conclusion of the workshop Ms. Olga Aaron shared her speech about how it is important for transgender persons to understand the rights and duties and to have dignity. She spoke on the importance of law in the society, to create to a secure place in workplaces including private and government sectors for transpeople. She talked about the human rights and constitutional violations against transgender community that has been in practice since the history of the community of transgender people.

Transgender persons at the mentorship workshop

Participating in this workshop is a big step towards a good and healthy life they wish for, they take courage, hope and leadership skills with them. Ms. Kalki Subramaniam, Mr. Kurianchan and Ms. Olga invited the participants and offered them certificates to recognise their participation in the workshop.

That evening they left with pride and lots of friendships to nourish and cherish their lives a very very long time. Bondings and inspirations that will inspire and uplift their lives.

Sahodari Foundation will reach out to more and more trans youth and support them through a series of these workshops in the future. 

Report: Kalki Subramaniam With inputs from Chinasha Notiya