N. MuthukumarL (Ramki) Ramakrishnan | 19th Mar, 2015


Queer Ink features an interview with N. Muthukumar, transgender/sexual minority rights activist and founder of Lotus Sangam, a community-based collective in Kumbakonam, South India.

The interview, presented as a set of five podcasts, was conducted over the telephone in February 2015 by L (Ramki) Ramakrishnan from Chennai. Ramki has learned much about grassroots queer organising and advocacy from association with Muthukumar over the past eight years. He felt that Muthu’s insights would be valuable to a wider (pan-Indian) audience, such as the readership of Queer Ink.

PART 1 of her interview Muthu recounts her journey over the past twenty years of being a community organizer and activist for the rights of sexuality – and gender- minorities.

PART 2: In this segment, Muthu speaks about her identity development on the gender-sexuality landscape, NGO-driven  constructs such as MSM, how she identifies variously as Penn-Manam-Konda-Aan (man with the mind of a woman), kothi and transgender.

PART 3: Muthu discusses the relevance of Section 377 and the Supreme Court NALSA verdict  in rural Tamil Nadu, and other community priorities.

PART 4:  On the need to engage with Panchayat leaders on sexuality issues, and the importance of self-esteem and parental support for queer/trans people.

PART 5: Way forward, including advancing the issues of transmen, women attracted to women, and other relatively invisible segments of the community in rural areas.

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