The stage is almost set at Spaces for an arts festival that is set to transform the place come Saturday. There will be photographs, paintings, dance programmes, music and an exhibition-cum-sale of jewellery. The only difference though, is that this time it will be the transpeople of Chennai who will steal the limelight through their creativity.
Organised by PeriFerry, a social entrepreneurial initiative, the event called Thiru Vizha is a celebration of arts, and aims at giving transpeople a platform to showcase their skills as well as to foster dialogue about the trans community as a whole.
According to Neelam Jain, founder of PeriFerry, “There’ll be photographs pinned up that people have clicked during the transgender festival — Koovagam. Some of the performers will include transpeople who have been trained in dance forms as well. Bharaa is one such Bharatanatyam performer, who has been learning the art for years now.”
The evening will also see other performers take the stage. There will be a local indie band, poetry performers, folk and classical dancers, storytellers (trans people narrating their life through performing arts), mime, description of transpeople in Tamil cinema and a live interaction with renowned transgender personalities.
“Through this event, we hope to achieve two main goals — to make the cis gender community realise that there are talented transpeople as well; and to foster interaction between the trans and the cis communities so that people treat a transperson like they would anybody else,” says Jain, adding, “We hope that kindling communication and compassion between the communities will help reduce the discrimination the trans community faces. Another reason for conducting the festival is that we believe in not just art for art’s sake, but also art for society’s sake.”