PADMINI Prakash recently became India’s first trans* person to anchor a daily TV news show, five months after the Indian Supreme Court ruled that trans* be legally recognised as a third gender.

The 31-year-old anchors the 7pm TV news show on Lotus, the Tamil-language channel based in Coimbatore in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Prakash previously worked in trans* rights activism, teaching dance, acting and competing in trans* beauty pageants.

According to the Washington Post, she worked for Lotus News for about a month before she was promoted in mid-August to anchor its primetime news broadcast.

Prakash said her appointment closed a chapter in her life filled with personal and social challenges, as well as a troubled childhood.

“I am so happy. The message has gone all over India and the internet,” she told BBC News.

“More such opportunities should be given to other transgenders, too. The social taboo should go.”

Akkai Padmashali of Sangama, a Bangalore-based group fighting for sexual minorities’ rights, also welcomed Prakash’s new role, calling it a “good move” in an effort to bring trans* people into Indian mainstream society.

BBC News reported that India has an estimate of about two million trans* people, with most of them living on Indian society’s fringes, often in poverty and constantly facing discrimination. Many make a living by either singing and dancing, or begging and prostitution.

In April, India’s Supreme Court recognised trans* as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure their equal treatment. Other nations in the subcontinent, such as Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have also legally recognised trans* as a third gender.

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