Coimbatore is now home to India’s first kitchen run by transgenders


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Pandemic has resulted in a loss of employment in a large number. People were locked inside the house and this made it very difficult to earn even for the bread for living. Many small household business were started in this period till date.
Sangeetha, a 60-year-old trans woman started her own business during the pandemic. In a first, a group of transgenders opened a restaurant in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Located in the RS Puram area, Covai Trans Kitchen is a 32-seater restaurant run by a group of 10 transgenders. From cooking to packaging and delivery, it’s run entirely by them.
The pandemic severely impacted their income and has also reduced their chances of getting a job. In a bid to provide them with employment opportunities, Sangeetha came forward to help members of her community who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The transgender community has always struggled to make its existence count and life wasn’t any different for Sangeetha after she ran away from her home. For months she was forced to walk around the streets and beg for money to make a living. But she didn’t want to do it all her life. Sangeetha has been running her own catering business successfully since 2014 and helping people from her community. However, the pandemic made it challenging for her and demanded a long-term solution. “During the lockdown, we survived on the assistance and rations provided by the State government,” she added.
Sangeetha, the President of Coimbatore District Transgender Association, told The Indian Express, “Catering is our primary business. But due to COVID-19, many of the restaurants where our community members were working had been closed. They were jobless. So, we thought we should open a small kitchen that would be beneficial to everyone. Through the Transgender Association of Coimbatore, ten of our members have joined here.”

They selected members who also underwent a 20-day training programme at Bishop Appasamy College’s hotel management department.
She had a tough time finding a place for the kitchen as people were not open to renting space out to transgenders. “People were hesitant to provide us a space for rent, some of them told they are not sure how we are going to run a restaurant all by ourselves as it has not been done before. After a long struggle, with the help of a lawyer, we found a place in RS Puram,” she added.

Another employee Rakshitha said, “While we initially only knew to make biryani, we were taught to make many chicken side dishes, parottas, variety rice dishes, and even some bakery products so we can run a full-fledged hotel.”

The workers and chefs follow all the safety measures as well. They wear masks and sanitize everything including the food items thoroughly before cooking.

The success of their restaurant has motivated them to open another outlet soon. “It is important that people of our community stop begging and become self-reliant,” adds Sangeetha. Transgenders in our country are still struggling for acceptance with rare employment opportunities. Kudos to Sangeetha for this great initiative that not only opens up opportunities for the transgender community but also helps them lead a dignified life.


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