Thoothukudi: Despite Section 377 verdict, transgender couple in Tamil Nadu had to face several hurdles when they wanted to marry at a temple in Thoothukudi. With meticulous planning and paper, they were all set to tie the knot. Least did they realise that a fellow transgender would set their wedding bells ringing at the nick of time.

Transgenders Sreeja and Arun Kumar were going through a rough time as they were about to get married on Wednesday (October 31) in a temple in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. Their friends had been planning for the same with the help of media and police to avoid any untoward incident. 

With cameras encircling the shy couple, Sreeja was decked up in bridal accessory with a red-chequered sari and gold ornaments, and Arun Kumar, her groom, was donning a silk dhoti and shirt. They arrived at the temple with their friends Bhoomika and Aarti. Just when Bhoomika approached the counter to collect the marriage receipt so they could go ahead with the ritual along with the priest, the temple management refused to allow them to get married.

The management returned the money paid for the wedding rituals and asked them to leave. 

Bhoomika stated that on the eve of the wedding, they paid Rs 600 and also produced the couple’s Aadhaar cards. The management had reportedly promised to give them the receipt the next morning. The receipt is also needed for the marriage registration certificate. She also added that the form they were provided to fill at the temple includes only two columns and Sreeja’s Aadhar identified her as a transgender woman.

Bhoomika added that they consulted the Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HRCE) department to ensure everything is in place, but the Brahmin priest at the temple disagreed.  

Just when the couple was dejected, another transgender Bharani came to the rescue. Bharani was also a priest of the same temple and so Sreeja and Arun finally got to tie the knot with her help.

“Having been together for over a year, we got the confidence to marry only after the Section 377 verdict. This refusal was a shock to us because we are both Hindus. Why can’t we get married at a Hindu temple? But, thanks to the support of the media, the HRCE department and the police, we were able to get married. I have been very lucky,” said Sreeja gratefully. 

The groom said that he is delighted, yet regrets that his parents weren’t a part of the wedding and that everything fell in place because of the support of his friends.

Bhoomika said that the registrar was very understanding and that he asked for an attested letter from a notary public, instead of the receipt, which made them all the more happy.