Chennai: Naleena Prasheetha has been elected as associate secretary of the students’ union in Loyola College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She has grabbed headlines because this is the first time in history that a transwoman has been elected to the union. The election was held on June 21.

Naleena is a second year MSc student pursuing Visual Communication and believes that her victory would boost empowerment of transgenders.

She also stated that the associate secretary represents women students and will not only work for the welfare of women but also transgender students.

“When I was pursuing my undergraduate course in college, I campaigned for the same post in 2017. Though the election that year was cancelled, I faced a tough time in campaigning due to the stigma attached to my community. But this year, it was a different experience.  My election to the post reflects that I have managed to win the trust of fellow students,” The New India Express quoted Naleena as saying. She added, “My election will give confidence to more transgenders to come out and follow their dreams.”

Naleena belongs to Dindigul and opted to change her gender in 2011 when she was in Class 11. A newspaper quoted her as saying, "I was a student of St Mary's School in Dindigul then. My parents were not too accepting at that point. I came in touch with a transgender community through one of my friends and I travelled to Mumbai and Bengaluru with them before I finally came to Chennai. What I loved about them was that they would take in any transperson irrespective of class, caste or the language they spoke. It was like one big family. I finished my higher secondary education through distance learning courses and then joined Loyola."

Speaking about her dreams and aspirations, Naleena stated that she wishes to be an IAS officer. She was quoted in the Edex as saying, "I want to spread the word that transgender is just like any other gender like male or female. There is nothing different or weird about us. We are as much a citizen of this country as you. But I do not think that we are doing enough for the development of transgenders in this country. One person becoming a civil servant or one individual winning an election does not count as development. That is an individual's win," she added.