Tuesday September 18, 2012
New leader for transgenders
By WANI MUTHIAH
PORT KLANG: In a ceremony steeped in tradition and colour, G. Kanama, 75, was ordained as the main elder of the local Indian transgender community over the weekend here.
Kanama replaces M. Asha Devi who succumbed to a heart attack early last month.
According to Asha Devi's anointed daughter Cheenu Parameswary, Kanama would now be regarded the main person in all activities pertaining to their community.
“She is the most suitable candidate to replace our late mother,'' said Cheenu, explaining that members of the transgender community were each other's kin by way of their sexual orientation.
She said the local Indian transgender community currently had seven generations.
However, she added, Asha Devi's position as the Thirunangai Association of Malaysia and Singapore the association which represents the Indian transgender community in both countries president has not been filled yet as tradition allows the community to do so only after a year of mourning.
“That will be a grand ceremony amidst a lot of pomp and prayers,'' said Cheenu, adding that the association's president could be someone else other than Kanama.
She added that there were many suitable candidates and the person selected must be someone who was able to represent and protect the community.
Asha Devi's 40th day post-funeral prayers were also held during the event, led by the late matriarch's three anointed daughters.
Besides Cheenu, the other two daughters are P. Sangeetha from Johor Baru and Gunavathy Nachia from Gemas, Negri Sembilan.
All three are leaders of the transgender community in their respective areas.
Meanwhile, Kanama said she would do her best to be the mother of the community like Asha Devi.
“Sister Asha Devi was the ideal mother who took care and protected all of us and I will try my best to be like her,'' she added.
Asha Devi, who operated a food stall at Lorong Haji Taib, had given protection to scores of transgender youths, who ended up on the streets after being disowned by their families due to their sexual orientation.
She had been both revered and loved for her dedication to the community.
Members of the Indian transgender community from all over the world had attended her funeral.