Raipur: Ravina Biraha is a transgender who refused to live on the fringes and is fighting for dignity for her community. The taunts, the jeers and the humiliation, Biraha has experienced it all. But she prefers to define herself as the third gender.
"People still believe that there are only two genders in the society. When they see somebody from the third gender, they starting behaving differently. And that affects us. My family started discriminating me when they learnt I was a transgender," said Biraha.
Biraha chose to fight back at an early age. She left her village and family in Chhattisgarh's Mahasamund district, studied at a free boarding school and did her graduation. While working at a local newspaper office, she got in touch with others from her community and formed the Chhattisgarh Mitwa Sankalp Samity in 2010.
"We discovered our community has a lot of potential. We thought that needs to be developed and conserved. Mitwa aims to help in overall development of our community," Biraha said.
Last year Mitwa created a buzz by organizing India's first ever National Third Gender sports meet. Almost 200 sportsperson from nine states participated in it. "Our aim was to show that we all have talents as well. Every person has a skill he or she wants to hone and tell the world about," said Rani, who participated in the event.
Biraha wants the third gender to get legal recognition. Her organisation has got voter indentity cards made for almost 500 people. Thanks to Mitwa's advocacy, Chhattisgarh is the first state of the country which has issued special labour cards to 200 members of the community.