Coimbatore: India's first transgender television news anchor Padmini Prakash is making waves in Tamil Nadu. 34-year-old Padmini presents a prime time show on Lotus News, a Tamil satellite news channel broadcast from Coimbatore.
Padmini said that when she was 13 years old, her parents had disowned her, ashamed of her sexual orientation. But that did not defeat her. She completed school education and honed her skills. She even enrolled for a bachelor's course in commerce under open university. After stints in films and television soap operas, she now presents news on television.
"This would change the way people think about transgenders. We have to keep proving ourselves. I'm so happy as if I've touched the peak of the world," said Padmini.
It was her husband Prakash, a goldsmith who nurtured Padmini when her family disowned her. His dream then was to make her an IAS officer but she couldn't pursue the dream due to their poor economy. Now they hope their little foster son would fulfill that dream.
"I'm proud of her. Everyone talks good about her after the trouble we suffered," said Prakash
The news channel's promoters say that they started looking for a transgender news anchor after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling recognizing transgender people as the third gender.
Padmini, a qualified classical dancer who was also crowned as Miss Transgender India, exceeded expectations with her flawless performance.
"Padmini now anchors better than many others. We get very good feedback from viewers. Offices companies do not encourage transgenders. We want to change that and motivate them. We would give opportunity for many other qualified transgenders too," said G K S Selvakumar, Chairman of Lotus News.
Padmini is also quite active in conducting awareness campaigns. Recently, the Coimbatore city police had roped her to sensitize their force on transgenders.
A few years ago, Rose Venkatesan, a techie, had become India's first transgender television talk show hostess when she presented "Ippadikku Rose" on Star Vijay TV.
Many say Padmini's success is a welcome beginning in television news which could not only empower transgenders but also bring about a change in mindset towards the third gender.