Maybe you met your same-sex significant other on Match.com, Gay.com, Adam4Adam, or, uh, Grindr? The options for openly transgender daters, however, are much slimmer; sites like TGPersonals.com and TransPassions.com are either unstable or poorly designed, with small userbases. But that’s not deterring India’s transgender population, where MTF single ladies have a brand new option in finding a mate.
Thirunangai.net, started by a one Kalki (pictured) after two of her trans friends were rejected by traditional dating sites, gives trans women the opportunity to find a husband. Reports AFP:
A new site offers to help people born as men but living as women find husbands in a country where marriage remains the bedrock of society and gender and sexuality are still conservatively defined.
“Many men are attracted to transgender women, but when it comes to commitment they don’t want to do it,” the founder of the website, Kalki, who uses one name, explained to AFP.
“The types of grooms that our girls are looking for are men who would respect them as an equal human being, who would treat them with dignity and would introduce them to friends and family as a girlfriend or wife.”
Transgenders and eunuchs — men who have been castrated — live on the extreme fringes of Indian society, often resorting to prostitution, begging or menial jobs that leave them mired in poverty.
Their numbers are difficult to estimate. Kalki says there are about 20,000 in her adopted state of Tamil Nadu, the most socially progressive area in the country with a total population of about 60 million.
Not that Thirunangai.net is the be all, end all of the online transgender dating business; it features just six MTF profiles, all from post-op women. And if you thought your average Gaydar.net troll had a lot of baggage, wait till you meet these gals.
Poorly educated, often abused and tarred by the social stigma of their blurred gender, it is unsurprising that many in the community struggle to find the love and steady relationship they crave.
“We feel love and passion like anyone else and we want to have a family and a husband, even though we can’t bear children. We’d like to adopt children,” says Kalki.
The site, available in English and Tamil, features six women, most of whom have had full sex change operations and are looking for “ordinary” men for a long-term relationship and even marriage.
One of them is Sowmiya, a 23-year-old former sex worker who ran away from home aged 15 and is now a campaigner at Kalki’s Sahodari Foundation, a non-government organisation that fights for the rights of transgenders.
“I put my profile on the site because I want to get married to a nice man and I want a baby,” she told AFP from her home in Chennai. “I don’t mind if he is not too educated, but he must be faithful to me and have a kind character.”