India gets its first transgender TV news anchor

Padmini Prakash, 31, has become the first transgender news anchor in India's history. The decision to hire her has come five months after India's Supreme Court recognized transgender people as a legal third gender and called on the government to make sure transgender people receive equal treatment.

Prakash, who works at Lotus News in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, said she's faced discrimination throughout her life and cut off ties with her family after she couldn't take the pressure. She was previously a dance instructor and actor in Tamil soap operas. She had also participated in and won several transgender beauty contests before becoming an anchor.

Prakash said she was nervous to be an on-air anchor.

"I was very worried because I also had to focus on my diction and maintain a steady narrative pace to ensure that there was clarity and viewers could understand me," Prakash told the Times of India.

India was not the first country to provide legal recognition to the transgender community. Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh also recognized transgender people as a third gender.

Prakash lives with her partner in Vellakinar in the suburbs of Coimbatore. She became so popular with viewers after joining the station this past August that she was promoted to become the face of the Coimbatore-based Lotus News Channel's daily 7 p.m. special bulletin.

"We are very supportive of Padmini .... After initial trials, we were convinced that she had the potential to be an excellent news anchor," Lotus News Channel Chairman G.K.S. Selvakumar told the Times of India.