Heidi Saadiya has made history as Kerala's first trans-person broadcast journalist, who made a debut reporting the second lunar mission's achievement when its landing module 'Vikram' successfully separated from the orbiter on Monday.
State Health Minister K K Shylaja congratulated Saadiya, saying she would be an inspiration to others. "Saadiya is an inspiration to other transgenders in the country. After her degree, she completed her PG Diploma in Journalism and joined Kairali News and reported the achievement of Chandrayaan 2," the minister wrote in a Facebook post, which also congratulated the engineers behind the Moon mission.
Saadiya (22) has been hired as a broadband journalist by the ruling CPI(M)-run Kairali news channel and she did her first live reporting on Chandrayaan 2 on Monday.
Saadiya told PTI she was very proud to be part of the journalist fraternity. "There are many others like me who have joined the media profession, but I am the first to be broadcast journalist. I am lucky to join this place.
The responsibility of a journalist is very big and I understand the seriousness of this job," she said. She narrated the ordeals she had to face when she went to study medicine in Mangaluru. "I was ragged and humiliated and had to quit after six months.
Later I shifted to Bangalore, where I underwent my sex re-assignment surgery, for which my parents are still angry with me. But I hope they will understand some day," she said.
After completing her BA (Literature) course from IGNOU, Saadiya joined the electronic journalism course in Thiruvananthapuram.
"The friends at the journalism institute were very supportive and I passed with a first class. Some of the media houses were not keen to engage me, but Kairali considered my credentials and gave me the opportunity," she said.
Saadiya said it was difficult to break the barriers created by society.
"We are not slaves of anyone. I want everyone to come out of their respective barriers and be themselves. If there are hardships in life, its always better to initiate some steps to come out of it. We need to utilise all the opportunities and do hard work," she said.
The Left government in Kerala has been engaged in creating an inclusive environment for trans-people. The state was the first in the country to formulate a transgender policy.
Kerala has also shown the way by providing reservation for students in colleges and appointing trans-persons in Kochi Metro and many more.