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Indian archdiocese encourages transgender community to engage in church activities

A south Indian archdiocese brought together the transgender community and Dalits to offer opportunities to engage in church activities.
Sr. Reeta with transgender community at Madurai. (Photo: Supplied)

A south Indian archdiocese brought together the transgender community and Dalits to offer opportunities to engage in church activities.

In a first of its kind, India's Madurai archdiocese celebrated Christmas with members of the transgender community on December 12, 2021.

"The goal of Synod 2021-2023 is to bring together women, demoralised individuals, such as transgender people and the Dalit group, and encourage them to engage in church activities," said Father James Paul Raj, the secretary of family commission in the archdiocese.

The archdiocesan commission for women organized the event.

Sister Reeta Irudayam from the Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, the secretary of the diocesan commission for women, stated that "the purpose of this event is to provide equal opportunity and rights to transgender persons who have been harmed by society, wounded by relatives, neglected by family, and treated with contempt by their people."

"The birth of Christ offers new life to transgender people to participate actively in church celebrations, receive equal respect from society, and be enrolled in the government constitution," said Father Jerome Eronimus, the vicar general of the archdiocese, who presided over the event.

Father Benadict Barnabas, the director of the diocesan pastoral centre, stated that "Christ was born to bring happiness into our life. As a result, people will come to love and care for one another in order to build a more fair and peaceful society."

There were twenty-one transgender participated in the event.  The participants were offered 10 kilograms of rice donated by religious sisters from the Madurai archdiocese and commissions.

Chitra, a leader of the transgender community, expressed her gratitude to Madurai Archbishop Antony Pappusamy, the priests, religious sisters, parishioners, and commission secretaries for organising this historic occasion to show unity and solidarity with the transgender people.

All the participants join in a lunch prepared by the Madurai Trans Kitchen, the city's first culinary centre, founded by transgender leader Chitra.

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