Aravani as Citizen: The Forging of a Sexual Identity




Aravani is one of the transgender communities (male to female) in the state of Tamil Nadu who considers themselves as females trapped in male bodies. They are not mere cross dressers. Some of them undergo surgeries to realize their dream of becoming a complete female. They worship Aravana or Iravan, the son of Pandava prince Arjuna and Naga princess Ulupi. The Aravanis of Tamil Nadu identify themselves as the third gender like Eunuch, Hijra, Kinnar, Kothi, Shiv Shakthi and Jogappa communities in other parts of India. The Hijra population is the most visible transgender population in India. Much before the historic Supreme Court Verdict of 2014, Hijras were accepted as the third gender in India. While Hijras have mythological, religious, and cultural moorings, it is their search for social and political acceptance that this paper aims to study. Borrowing from mythology, the Tamil transgender community, Aravani, has attempted to carve out its own space within the LGBTQ spectrum. This paper examines the role of the Aravani movement in forging a sexual identity for transgender people and its impact and influence on promoting the rights of transgender people. Autobiographical records from the community and secondary sources with cultural, religious, and mythological references along with articles highlighting social and political developments were studied to map the journey towards a sexual identity. The primary texts used in this study are Our Lives Our Words and The Truth About Me.


Transgender, Hijras, Aravani


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How to Cite

Choudhury, N. R., & Harini, C. (2023). Aravani as Citizen: The Forging of a Sexual Identity. Advanced Journal of Social Science, 12(1), 30–38.