Saturday, January 28

Transgenders to usher in ‘bon phonta’

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For ages they yearned to put a ‘phonta’ on their their brothers’ forehead, but were forced to accept it instead. Their prayers will be answered on Thursday. These are transgenders, who were born male and grew up thinking that they were women trapped in men’s bodies. And now, when they are able to come out into the world showing off their real sexuality, they are pulling out all stops to celebrate.
The Bagbazar Reading Library is wearing a festive look. At least 15 transgenders, led by a lawyer, will gather there on Thursday morning with 30 boys with physical and mental disabilities who will get phonta from them. The ‘brothers’ of these transformed girls will then put a phonta on their forehead.

“In this male-dominated society, you have bhai phonta, whereby sisters pray for the long life and good health of brothers. But no one has heard of bon phonta. So we decided to usher in this tradition. We need to work towards an equal society,” said Megh Sayantani, the state’s first transgender lawyer, who is also a dancer and runs a one-of-its-kind transgender dance group called, ‘Rudra Palash’.

The group of the transgender women – all professionals or students – have been working with special children who are inmates of a home called Sangbedan.

Right from buying them new clothes to taking them pandal hopping or on weekend outings – these women do everything within their capacity to put a smile on the little faces. “It happened almost naturally. As bhai phonta approached, we decided to celebrate it with these kids and realize our dreams!” said Rupa Das, a transgender.

The others said after they revealed their alternate sexuality, their families rejected them. “We tried to forget everything, invited our brothers to where we stay now for bhai phonta, but they always refused. We have been treated like untouchables by our families,” said Kusum Samanta, another transgender.

Source: Times of India

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