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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Meet Parvathy T S: India’s first transgender postal worker from Kollam

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Parvathy T S is India’s first transgender postal worker. She describes her struggle to accept her own identity, as well as how she overcame persecution and rejection to carve out a space for herself.

Parvathy T S, 36, works in the post office in Rosemala, a hamlet in Kerala’s Kollam district. Rosemala is famous for unfolding like a flowering rose. It reminds Parvathy of how her own life has evolved and how she has flowered into her own.

Despite being born and raised as Kumareshan T S, all of her official documents now bear the name Parvathy. She is India’s first transgender postal worker.

Parvathy claims that even though she identified as a woman, she lacked the confidence to tell the world. She rediscovered her confidence when she moved to Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu, as a trans woman.

Parvathy is a member of the Malavedar tribal community of Urukunnu’s Girivarga colony. Her identity was too much for her family, who were already discriminated against due to their caste, she claims. When she returned to her hometown, they welcomed her as their son Kumareshan, not as Parvathy.

Parvathy claims she was unconcerned about this and instead focused her efforts on finding methods to make a living. She worked at a gas pump for daily earnings while studying for central and state-level employment examinations.

Parvathy was assigned as a ‘postman’ of Rosemala since all of her official documents described her as male. Despite her superiors’ warnings and intimidation, Parvathy persisted to wear her favourite salwars and sarees.

Every day, she drives 34 kilometres from her hamlet to the post office in her black Honda Activa. She transports mail from the Rajakappu region to Rosemala and back, covering around 12 kilometres every day.

Parvathy was the first transgender person from the Kollam district to vote in parliamentary elections in 2018. On November 9, 2022, Parvathy got a postal order verifying her gender identity.

Parvathy, on the other hand, claims that her struggle is far from over.

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