4 Transgender Get Police Approval To Offer Prayers At Sabarimala

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Thiruvananthapuram: Four members of a group of transwomen, who were denied permission Sunday by the Kerala police to climb the hill at Sabarimala, got the green signal today. They are scheduled to offer prayers at the temple on Tuesday with police protection.

The transgenders – Anannyah, Trupthi, Avantika and Ranjumol – were sent back by the police at Erumely, a major halting point for Ayyappa pilgrims, citing law and order problems on Sunday. The transwomen alleged that the police asked them to come wearing male clothes and insulted their identity.

The police nod to the transwomen came after both the family of thanthri (priest) as well as the Pandalam royal palace agreed there were no restrictions on the entry of transpersons. Senior police officers also checked with the High Court-appointed panel of experts deputed to look after the affairs of the Sabarimala shrine during the ongoing annual pilgrimage season.

Police officers had indicated that while the September 28 ruling of the Supreme Court had lifted restrictions on the entry of women of all ages, it did not specify any curbs on transpersons. The top court verdict had set aside existing temple traditions that barred women of menstrual age from entering the temple.

The four transwomen have filed a police complaint against certain officers and constables for denigrating them and mocking their identity. Senior officers have promised to look into their grievances.