Tamil Nadu, February 08, 2012: Bharathi conducts services in Tamil and English every Sunday. At a young age, Bharathi got attracted to the Bible. She went on to complete her Bachelor’s in Theology and achieve the distinction of becoming India’s first transgender pastor.
For the past eight months, Bharathi has been preaching at the Evangelical Church of India in Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu.
She conducts services in Tamil and English every Sunday, besides training another transgender to become a pastor.
“I have conducted two baby showers for families and even named a child. Though I do not have a licence to conduct a wedding, a parishioner printed my name on his wedding invitation,” she said.
Traumatized and shunned as a youngster, Bharathi said societal acceptance was once just a dream for her just as it is for members of her ilk across the country.
She said she had formed a team to work among transgenders in Chengalpattu, to bring them into the church and thus into the mainstream.
Recalling her harrowing past, Bharathi said her family assumed she was a boy at birth.
“I was very feminine and my classmates and neighbors would make fun of me. I became a loner and could not even complete class 12,” she said.
Bharathi said that when she was 10, an “angel” entered their home.
“A nun near our home took pity on me and took me in,” she said.
The church soon became Bharathi’s home and she decided to embrace Christianity at the age of twelve.
“I started reading the Bible and praying in church every day. I converted when I was 12 and was baptized a few years later in 2000,” she added.
Bharathi, who left home more than seven years ago, visited her family two months ago.
“I had resolved to return to my family only after reaching a position of repute. When I returned, my parents were proud of me,” she said.
The pathbreaking move by the ECI, which has more than 100,000 followers across India, coincides with evangelical denominations in other countries, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, deciding to allow transgenders as pastors.
- times of India