Riyana Raju Makes History: First ‘Transgender Woman’ To Visit Sabarimala
Riyana Raju, who transitioned from male to female years ago, claims to be the first ‘transgender woman’ to accomplish the Sabarimala Ayyappa darshan after eight attempts, as reported by Indian Expres For years, Riyana diligently applied through the Devaswom Board website, determined to fulfil her longstanding dream.
By Madhuri Adnal
Traditionally, Sabarimala restricted entry to men, minors, and elderly women. But Riyana, clad in a vibrant saree, confidently entered the temple as the woman she truly is. “Previously, transgender individuals would enter disguised as males, donning pyjamas or dhotis.
However, I disclosed my identity as a transgender woman, providing supporting documentation such as affidavits, endorsements from the Women and Child Department, the deputy chief minister’s office, and a recommendation from the National Legal Service Authority recognizing transgender rights,” Riyana told Indian Express.
While some initial resistance arose due to her youthful appearance, Riyana gracefully addressed concerns by sharing her experiences as a transgender woman and emphasizing her right to participate in religious practices.
“This visit served as an opportunity to enlighten people about the rights of transgender women,” she expressed. Commending the Kerala police for ensuring her safety and facilitating her darshan, Riyana lauded the Devaswom Board for its non-interference.
“While my parents were concerned for my safety, I commenced my journey on January 4 and completed the darshan on January 5. Assuring my parents of my safety, I returned home.
Although five others accompanied me, they hesitated to openly identify as transgender women and alter their attire. Nonetheless, I completed the pilgrimage in sarees, proudly asserting my identity as a transgender woman,” Riyana concluded.
Courtesy : OneIndia
Note: This news piece was originally published in oneindia.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Righ