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Feb 18, 2014 at 02:20pm IST

Swapna, the first transgender to take a civil services examination

Chennai: Breaking the stereotype, 23-year-old Swapna has became the first transgender to appear for a civil services examination in Tamil Nadu.

On December 1, Swapna, a BCA graduate from Madurai became the first transgender to take the Tamil Nadu Public Service exam. The landmark decision to allow Swapna to appear came after a prolonged campaign by the transgender community.

"We have been fighting for the last 10 years, it's only now that the government has given us this chance," said transgender physiotherapist Selvi.

Selvi is a physiotherapist while Banu is a computer professional. They overcame many odds to complete their education, but say it's tough to find and keep a job once their gender identity is revealed. Only government recognition and reservations, they say, will help get them acceptance.

"Like everyone else, parents also think our transgender child will either become a beggar or a prostitute, if they know that transgenders can also have normal education and jobs with government help, perhaps they will not abandon their children," said Banu

A provisional exam ticket for Swapna is just the first step but what will be more crucial is the policy framework for transgenders that the Tamil Nadu government is working on.