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Jayati Godhawat

IWB Blogger

Meet The First Registered Transgender To Clear 12th Board Exams In TN

  • IWB Post
  •  May 13, 2017


She was just 16 when she realized that she was a woman’s soul in a man’s body. Unaccepted at home and bullied at school for her “unnatural” behavior, she took a bold decision and ran away from her village and came to Chennai.

It was in Chennai that she met Transgender activist, Grace Banu who took Tarika under her wings and stood by her while she owned her new identity and life as Tarika Banu.

Now at 22, Tarika Banu has become the first registered transgender to clear Class XII board (HSC Board) examinations in the state of Tamil Nadu with 537 marks.

“When I left my home and came to Chennai, I never imagined that my life would turn out the way it has and I will always be grateful to my mother, Grace for that,” Tarika told TOI.

No, it didn’t come easily to her. “Initially, it was a struggle for her to get admitted to an all-girls school, which is what I wanted. I hope her achievement serves as an inspiration to all other transgenders who drop out of school. They must know that they can succeed despite all odds,” said Grace, who herself has completed engineering course, recently.

However, she did receive a lot of support not only from Grace but from her fellow students and teachers.

“People at school treated me well and included me as one of their own.The faculty has been warm to me; particularly Selvam, my class teacher who always motivated me to perform well,” said Tarika.

It should be noted here that Grace hasn’t changed Tarika’s life but also many others from the community. Ajitha, Regina, and Renuka have also been adopted by her and lives in her home with Tarika.

“I wanted to create a secure social circle for our community and inspire others to do the same. I have been deprived of one myself,” confided Grace.


Tarika wants to pursue a career in medicine and hopes that her story will serve as an example for other transgenders and their families.

“I want parents of transgender kids to know that if they accept them for who they are and help them get educated, without shunning them, it will empower our community,” says Tarika.

IWB congratulates Tarika for passing board exams and setting an example for the society. And, we salute Grace Banu’s phenomenal work for the transgender community and their empowerment.

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