How a Facebook post helped a Chennai tranny navigate her way as an entrepreneur

Members of the transgender community in India still face social stigma, and this is evident from the Facebook post by Shaina Banu, a trans woman from Chennai, posted last year. She runs a restaurant called “Transgender Tasty Hut” near Chennai Egmore and was disappointed not to have customers. However, after her post went viral, people flocked to her restaurant. She thanked everyone for their support.

In the Facebook post, she wrote: “If a restaurant was run by men or women, this company would visit them. But will you come to a restaurant run by a transgender? So why does this society blame us in a context where we don’t win through hard work? When the post went viral, many activists and YouTubers, including influencers, popularized Transgender Tasty Hut, which drew customers from across the state. With the rise of social media for Shaina, business seems to be starting to pick up. Taking to social media, Shaina thanked everyone who shared her post and expressed her gratitude. “After years of being ostracized, I’ve finally started something of my own, which isn’t easy; Now I love being a part of this community even more,” Shaina said.

With the help of the self-help group Sembaruthy Thirunangaigal and a private university, Shaina found her purpose in life with her entrepreneurial venture. It was the result of years of emotional turmoil and economic hardship. She has become a role model for all those struggling to earn a living with dignity.

Last year, the Tamil Nadu government appointed a transgender woman, Narthaki Nataraj, as a member of the state development policy committee. Narthaki Nataraj was also the first trans woman to be honored with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor, in 2019 for her contribution in the field of Bharatanatyam.

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