In a landmark move, for the first time, an all-transgender football team kickstarted in Manipur. The team is led by Nick (striker) with Chaki (vice-captain, striker), Puja (goal keeper), Silleibi (goal keeper) and others as its key members.
A 24-year-old student, vice-captain and striker Chaki Huidrom, of the team, said, “Tournaments are held either for men or women. But transgender players can’t play with men or women. Even if they take part without disclosing the gender, controversy often takes place in case of a complaint. It is always in our minds on why can’t we have a tournament for the third gender.” Chaki hails from the Imphal West district, reported the Deccan Herald.
- An all-transgender football team kick-started in Manipur, making it India’s first.
- The team is led by Nick (striker) and Chaki (vice captain, striker), Puja (goalkeeper), Silleibi (goalkeeper).
- “It is always in our minds on why can’t we have a tournament for the third gender.” said vice captain and striker Chaki Huidrom.
Having such a great opportunity to break barriers, this time an aspirant footballer Chaki played a match on March 8 without any question being raised about his gender. Ya All, an NGO based out of Imphal, helped them form a 14-member all-transgender football team and play a seven-a-side match in the city. “They were so happy after the match that it gave us encouragement to have similar matches in the future too,” founder of the NGO, Sadam Hanjabam told DH from Imphal. Receiving support ever since the inception of Ya All in 2017, it has been working for the LGBTQ+ community in Manipur.
”This is perhaps the first all-transgender football team in the country. We have not yet come across any such team in other parts,” Sadam added with pride.
“They were born as girls but they consider themselves boys. But our society finds it difficult to accept this identity. They face so much of stigma and discrimination that they can’t display their sporting talents. Our purpose is to help them enjoy their identity and provide a platform to prove them that they can do things together. This will help change our society’s mindsets towards the third gender,” said Hanjabam, also a PhD fellow in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Lack of resource
“We request the big football teams to come forward and help us in providing coaching and other facilities. If we all can join hands to have sports meets for the third gender also, many such sporting talents will come out in the open. They don’t come out due to the stigma and discrimination they face in the society,” Sadam expressed.
Like every other player from the team, Chaki too wishes to be a part of state, national and international level football tournaments. “Other players should also come out so that we can compete, improvise ourselves and create a strong Transgender Team in India,” he said. He spoke about his breakthroughs as a transgender player and how they all hope to take a leap from here without having any stigma attached.
Feature Image Credit: Ya All NGO, Imphal