Engineer opens boutique that empowers Bengaluru Transwomen

This uplifting news comes to us from Bengaluru, India.

Sakhti, Diya, Rosa, and Vyga identify themselves as transwomen and for their stance on their sexuality they have had to bear with a lot of ostracisation. Life changed for these four women after they identified themselves as transsexual, having to live through the taunts and catcalls from people they loved the most and in general having a very bad quality of life. For these four women, life would have been quite an unending horror if not for the jobs they have in a bridalwear studio in Bengaluru.

Toute Studio is a high-end bridalwear brand which finds its foundations in the emancipation of transsexuals. Its owner and founder Samyuktha Vijayan is a 34-year-old transsexual woman. She comes from an extremely conservative family from Coimbatore and she felt that she was different right from her childhood. Growing up with two brothers, she always felt that she was a girl and found her expression through art and music.

Samyuktha’s parents never tried to talk her out of it and if anything they encouraged her. They encouraged her to study zealously and told her that she need not worry about the social obstructions that would invariably come up. Samyuktha credits her parents for their open-mindedness that helped her breeze through school and college.

After acquiring her engineering degree, Samyuktha worked in the USA and also in Europe where she saw that the environment was very different from what it was towards marginalized communities in India. She mooted ideas of coming back to India and helping out the transsexual women who were not as fortunate as she was. She was interested in fashion and dress designing and decided to leave her well-paying job and return to India to open a boutique wherein she could employ transwomen who came from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She connected with a few NGO’s who gave her the details of Rose, Diya, Sakthi, and Vyga. They initially did not have the skill set required for fashion designing, but Samyuktha mentored two of them in design, one in customer managing and one in photography. Today the studio has 21 cis-karagirs and four transwomen who work in its various departments. Toute studio opened about seven months ago and has already serviced many happy customers. The unique aspect of this studio is that it rents the clothes and the pieces of jewelry. What matters most to Samyuktha is that four transwomen have a safe job and a home where society’s jibes need not matter.

Image Source: The Better India

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