Against all odds: The inspiring story of a transwoman

Against all odds: The inspiring story of a transwoman

Swapna S, 28-year-old transwoman, never got anything in life easily.

At every stage, she fought against the odds to achieve her goals – knocked at the doors of the judiciary to attend exams conducted by Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) and to get herself listed as a woman candidate.

Swapna cleared the TNPSC Group II exams and landed the government service in 2018, that made her the first non-gazetted officer from the trans community in Tamil Nadu.

A few days ago, she added another feather to her cap by becoming the first transwoman to have cleared the tough Group-I examinations. On Monday, Swapna finally reaped benefits of five years of hard work, a struggle that culminated in her getting appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes.  

It is a giant leap for the woman as she rose from being an assistant to the assistant commissioner in the same department through sheer hard work and perseverance. But the 28-year-old, who displayed extraordinary grit and determination through years of struggle, says she wouldn’t rest till she becomes deputy collector.  

“I always wanted to be a district collector. Since UPSC doesn’t allow me to write exams as a woman, I appeared for TNPSC hoping to become deputy collector as it would help me work among the people and for the people directly. I missed the deputy collector post by just 15 marks. But nevertheless, I will get there the next time,” Swapna told DH.

Swapna, a native of Madurai who wrote the Group-I exams in Tamil, scored 489.75 out of 850 and secured 228th rank in the state by cracking the test in her third attempt. Unlike many other transwomen, Swapna had the support of her family members, especially her mother, and friends which she says helped her chase her dreams.

“It is difficult to taste success when you are spurned and rejected wherever you go. And today I can taste the fruits of success and there is no better feeling than this one,” she added.

A transwoman who had seen so many struggles, Swapna fought many a battle in the court – to allow people like her to write TNPSC exams, to get listed under the Female category and to add trans persons under the Most Backward Community (MBC) category for reservation.

“If you ask me what brought me here, I will just say it is my adamant nature and attitude. You can achieve positive things by being adamant. I was adamant and I will continue to be until my goal is achieved,” she said.  

On a personal note, Swapna said she felt so happy on the last day of 2019 as she introduced her mother, N Pichaiyammal, an Anganwadi worker to the world by posting her picture on Facebook.

“I think it is time to get back to studies to achieve the deputy collector post that still eludes me. I will give my 100% to the job but efforts to achieve my dream will continue,” she said.

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