New Delhi, July 18: India’s first ‘Transgender Poet’s Meet’ was organised on Tuesday at the Sahitya Akademi in Kolkata. Held under the chairmanship of India’s first transgender college principal Manabi Bandopadhyay, the two-and-a-half-hour event was the first of its kind, sponsored by the government and organised by the Sahitya Akademi. Also Read - No Cultural Programmes at Durga Puja This Year, Says Mamata Banerjee | Read Full SOP Here

Sharing some poems at the occasion, Manabi Bandopadhyay said, “Such poet’s meet will only encourage the transgender community. We all have such talents but do not get the opportunity that we deserve. I’m thankful that Sahitya Akademi has come forward in support of the transgender community.” Also Read - How Cool! In a First, Kolkata to Get Tram Library with Books to Read While Travelling

Some of the transgender poets who participated in the meet include Rani Majumdar, Aruna Nath, Anjali Mandal, Debdutta Biswas and Debojyoti Bhattacharya. A time limit of 15 minutes was allotted to each poet to recite their poetry. In addition to the six poets, two guest transgender poets took turns to recite poems. Poems namely “Antoja”, “Anuranan”, “Anneshan”, “Prantik” were read out by Anurag Maitreyee, a news anchor who was originally a social activist. Another poet named Tista Das got chance to read out “Aposh”, “Tarpan” and “Bhashan”. Also Read - Fashion Designer Sharbari Datta Found Dead in The Washroom of Her Kolkata Residence

Out of all the branches, Sahitya Akademi’s Kolkata branch took the lead to hold the first ever Transgender Poet’s meet in Kolkata. The officer-in-charge of Sahitya Akademi’s Eastern Region, Mihir Sahu said, “We have hosted several women empowerment sessions and events in the past. But, when Manabi Bandopadhyay came to me saying that she wanted us to host a transgender poet’s meet, I could not say a no. Infact, a lot of people from Delhi are calling me and congratulating me for taking this step forward.” The event is a part of the Union Ministry of Culture.

Regarding the judgment on Section 377 which is likely to be pronounced before October 2, Manabi Bandhopadhyay said, “The country hugely respects us and thus they have recognised us a third gender. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will pass a judgment in our favour.”

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalizes consensual gay sex. The law deems violates the rights of the LGBTQ community deeming their sexual orientation as “against the order of nature”. The provisions of the law are also applicable to heterosexual citizens.

(Reported by – Pooja Mehta, Zee News)