Kerala’s first transgender lawyer, Padma Lakshmi, was honoured at the famous Kaliyattam procession of the Moonniyur Temple Festival in Malappuram on Friday.
Hundreds of effigies made of tender coconut leaves and bamboo displaying an array of images and messages are paraded during the annual procession that is renowned for its secular traditions — bringing together local Hindu and Muslim communities.
The effigies called ‘poikuthira’ (effigies in the shape of horses) are carried by volunteers over bamboo poles. Most effigies feature Gods and religious icons while symbolic representations of secularism and equality are also paraded on the streets accompanied by percussion instruments.
This year’s procession had a special ‘poikuthira’, displayed by ‘VIP Valakkund’ that carried an image of Adv Padma Lakshmi with a message that read: “It is always tough to be the first. There are no predecessors en route and obstacles are aplenty. There are many to silence you, to force you to back off. You overcame. Greetings to Kerala’s first transgender advocate Padma Lakshmi.”
The news about the powerful tribute was shared by transgender rights activist Sheethal Shyam on social media. “Only those pushed away will know the relevance of being held closer,” wrote Sheethal Shyam in her Instagram post.
In March this year, Padma Lakshmi, who graduated from the Ernakulam Law College, enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Kerala.