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Photographer's Note

Don't be mistaken, these are NO girls but MEN dressed as women, Aruvani called by Tamliens.
Aravani means in fact eunuch.
In Tamil Nadu state there are an estimated 150,000 of aruvanis. They represent everything that goes straight in to the traditional puritan morality of Tamil society where still some code even for dressing is imposed not to be provocative.
Most aruvanis are living by begging and many end up in the sex industry. They have no place in society, no rights, no job, often mercilessly harassed, mostly avoided as they could blemish the good name, the most important thing in Tamil Nadu: a good name.
Most of them are being expelled from their family, the only social security you have in India.
Lucky there are organisations that try to train them as beauticians or therapists to integrate them again in society.
The subject sex is taboo but on the other hand the cause of the high infection rate of Aids here in Tamil Nadu. You may be assured that these "ladies" are mostly very well informed and aware of this danger as soon as they meet other likewise minded persons. A lot of social organizations target especially these groups as they are often in the danger zone. Although lorry-drivers are very often in this danger zone too but harder to reach to inform.

I had the chance once to encounter several social workgroups, discussing the matter but noticed that those organizations are often easily also exploited by politicians.

When I took this shot a lot of passengers passed by skirting around shunning them, with big eyes pointed at me .... while these ladies had a lot of fun, they didn't mind at all to have their photo on the internet.

This post on occasion of the Gay Parade in Paris, homosexuality in India is still a criminal act but they don't really know how to handle these 'ladies'.

Shot taken in front of the Meenakshi Temple, center Madurai ... as reported. I know, not an easy post to react on ... but this is also an aspect of Tamil society.


oochappan ©®

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