Journal article / Representation of Transgender Identity in Contemporary Malayalam Cinema

Anu Kuriakose. ‘Construction and Contestation of Identity and Politics: Transgender People in Contemporary Malayalam Cinema’. South Asian Popular Culture. Published ahead of print, 22 September 2020.

Abstract: This article examines the representation of transgender identity in contemporary Malayalam cinema through the construction of trans femininity in the two films Aalorukkam (2018) and Njan Marykutty (2018).

Malayalam cinema has started to capture trans lives for the last two decades as trans people have appeared as side characters in a number of films. These films demarcate the transformation in Kerala’s public sphere as well as in the Malayalam industry. The queer and transgender visibility politics and movement in the state influenced some recent films to place trans characters in central roles.

Unlike the earlier films in which trans people are marginalised, victimised, and made fun of, the two films discussed in this article try to carve the identity of Malayali trans women who struggle against all the odds of society and stamp their space in a cisheteronormative society.

The article critically looks at the construction of trans femininity, their sexuality, and the spaces of their gender performance in these films which try to satiate hegemonic social constructions.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup


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