Kerala will host nation’s first ever transgender athletics meet on April 8. The event would see participation of 200 transgenders from across the state. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the one-day event at the Central Stadium of Thiruvananthapuram. The logo for the event was released by veteran athlete Mercy Kuttan here on Wednesday.

“We have more than 20 participants from each district except from Wayanad, Idukki and Alappuzha from where only less than 10 participants have registered for the sports meet,” event co-ordinator Anil Arjunan told Times of India. The event has been organised to stop the social stigma surrounding Transgenders as society describe them with different named like Hijra, eunuch etc. The event has lined up 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints, 4 x 100 metres relay, long jump and shot put contest.

“I had been selected in the state team for 400m relay at the age of 15. In the years that followed, I had to take a back seat from such sports events due to persistent social stigma. After these many years I am so excited to participate in a sports meet. This time, I am going to try my luck in short put,”  Sreekutty told the daily.

Hijras have been integral to India’s ancient culture. During Mughal era, they were given the task of guarding the royal woman. However, under British rule their social alienation happened and later they were seen as criminals.