Ananya Kumari Alex has a first to her credit. She is the first transgender person to enter the race to be a member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.
Alex, aged 28, is the candidate of the Democratic Social Justice Party in Vengara in Malappuram district. The activist is not concerned that she is pitted against big guns such as Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty and Left Democratic Front candidate P Jiji.
“I jumped into the fray to be a representative of course. I am trying to be the voice of a marginalized community. All my transgender friends are very happy,” said Alex, who is also the first transgender radio jockey in Kerala. She is a news presenter and a make-up artist.
“The transgender community has no dearth of leaders and organisers. We can live like any other person and lead society and be leaders. I am trying to prove that. When you speak about gender equality, you are speaking only about equality between women and men. Nobody talks about transgenders or their rights. What we need is equality of women, men and transgenders,” Alex said.
Even women are not guaranteed equal justice. “Only those women who could not be ignored were granted seats in the election. We still have people who have no idea about transgender communities,” she said.
Alex always introduces her as a transgender and a representative of marginalized people while seeking votes. She is known for her fights for gender justice and equality. She was noted for her role as a presenter in the Kochi and Thalassery venues of the International Film Festival of Kerala.
Like most transgenders, Alex had also gone through bitter experiences starting with her travel to Bengaluru as a plus-two dropout. “I have begged in the streets to find food. Someone from the crowd spat on my face. I was slapped. I grew from there to be the person I am now.
“I have my honour, values and politics. The politics that allows a person to be themselves is most important. I eked out a living doing dishes in restaurants, wiping tables clean in bars and cleaning washrooms when I was just 18 years. There is hardly anything I haven’t done, including cleaning sewers and serving in petrol pumps. From there grew the Ananya who can speak Malayalam, English, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi fluently. I still have the fight to put up to live as I am.
“We are denied so many opportunities just because we are transgenders. Nobody should be marginalized without getting a good education and without being able to express their identity. I am not here to win or lose, but I want to represent the transgender community. I have to prove to the world that I existed here,” said Alex, who hails from Perumon in Kollam district.
She is the adopted daughter of celebrity makeup artist Renju Renjimar. She is also an active worker of Dwaya, a transgender organization.