A Transgender Rose

A Transgender Rose

Rose

A controversial new talk show is set to hit TV screens in Southern India on Thursday.

The programme, "Ipadikku Rose", is not only unusual in its subject matter but its new host has certainly broken from the ranks.

The programme will be hosted by Rose, who used to be a boy called Ramesh.

She will be India's first transgender person to host their own talk show on TV.

BBC World Service's Outlook programme, spoke to Rose about her new show, which airs on Thursday.

The show will be tackling subjects that are very controversial in nature, from gay rights to sexual abuse and prostitution - all the issues that are social taboos in India.

Rose studied for a Master's degree in biomedical engineering in the US and worked as a as a website designer before returning home to Chennai.

Coming out

Rose became aware of her femininity when she was around five years old and felt uncomfortable being a boy.

She did not start dressing as a woman until she was in her early twenties and now at twenty-eight, she has long hair and wears feminine clothes everyday.

It took her years to tell her family how she felt, but when she did, they were devastated.

When she returned to India after studying in the US, her family were under the impression that they could retain her as a man.

They even looked at marriage as a 'possible solution' to try and change her.

Although her family have found it hard to accept Rose for who she is, there are some members who are not willing to acknowledge her sexuality.

Tradition and superstition

Transsexuals are know as "hijras" in India.

Traditionally they have been surrounded by superstition and myth but modern society has been less tolerant of them.

Many are shunned by their families and find it hard to obtain conventional jobs and turn instead to begging and prostitution for a living.

Even though Rose is set for TV stardom, her life has been very difficult since she has come out.

She has been faced with public ridicule, verbal abuse and sexual harassment on a daily basis.

However, she is optimistic that her new role will hopefully change society's attitude towards transgender people and put them in a more positive light.