In probably the first of its kind, a group of transgenders opened a restaurant in the RS Puram area near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. The ‘Covai Trans Kitchen’ is run by a group of 10 transgenders and can seat 32 people at once.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Coimbatore District Transgender Association president Sangeetha said many of their community members had lost jobs due to Covid-19 and this pushed them to start something of their own.
“Catering is our primary business. But due to Covid-19, many of the restaurants where our community members were working had been closed. They were jobless. So, we thought we should open a small kitchen that would beneficial to everyone. Through the Transgender Association of Coimbatore, ten of our members have joined here. The kitchen is run entirely by them right from preparing the food, to packaging and delivery,” says Sangeetha, who has been running her own canteen nearby for more than 15 years.
Sangeetha says the biggest hurdle was finding a place for the kitchen as many were not willing to rent the space for transgenders. “Our restaurant is the first in the state that is run entirely run by the Transgender community members. People were hesitant to provide us a space for rent, some of them told they are not sure how we are going to run a restaurant all by ourselves as it has not been done before. After a long struggle, with the help of a lawyer, we found a place in RS Puram.”
The restaurant staff had even undergone training in catering service at CSI Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science.
The response so far has been good, she says. They are now planning to open a second unit soon. “Public and local media has been very kind to us. With their support, we are able to attract more customers. We have started receiving bulk orders, up to 15 kgs of biryani is sold on a daily basis. After six months, if the business continues to provide good profit, we are planning to open a second unit to provide more job opportunities to our community members,” she said.
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