Photo of a Transwoman model, Meera was falsely shared as a man who won the first prize for posing as a woman in the annual Chamayavilakku festival in Kottankulangara temple in Kollam district of Kerala.
A photo of a person wearing a Saree has gone viral on social media. Social media users claim that the person seen in the viral photo is a man who won the first prize for dressing up as a woman in the Chamayavilakku festival organized by Kottankulangara temple in Kerala’s Kollam district.
However, our fact-check reveals that the person is not a man dressed as a woman but she is transgender model from Kerala.
In the above tweet, we can see a young beautiful person wearing a saree. According to the Twitter user, the individual seen in the photo is a man who won the top prize in a competition that requires men to dress up like women. The event, as per the tweet is a part of the Chamayavilakku festival held in the Devi temple at Kottankulangara in Kerala’s Kollam district.
However, one of the Twitter users who replied to the tweet, claimed that this individual is neither a man nor a woman but a transwoman, Meera.
Similar posts can be seen on Facebook as well. We can see a Facebook post below. The caption in Malayalam says, “Kottankulangara Chamayavilakku festival concludes today. Here is a male beauty more graceful than the word graceful itself…”
A similar post was found on Reddit as well. The Reddit post is also in Malayalam just like the Facebook post given above. However, unlike the Facebook post, the Reddit thread claims that the individual seen in the photo won the first prize for dressing up as a woman. The thread in Malayalam says, “The gorgeous who won the first prize at Kottankulangara Chamayavilakku festival, where men dress as women.”
In all the posts, users have commented that this person is not a male but a transwoman. Let us fact-check and find out the truth.
Chamayavilakku is an annual festival held at Kottankulangara Bhagwathi temple in Kollam district of Kerala. Hence, we contacted the temple authorities. The authorities told us that the person seen in the photo is not a male but a transwoman. They also told us that, “Transwomen who haven’t undergone gender reassignment surgeries are allowed to participate in the festival where men dress up as woman as an act of paying obeisance to the goddess Bhagwathi. The person seen in the photo is also a transwoman who is undergoing the process of transitioning.”
They also gave us the contact number of the photographer, Siddique Sid, who has taken this picture. Siddique told us, “The person in the viral photograph is not a man but a transwoman who had visited the temple.” He also told us that she is from Kannur.
We also found her Instagram Id. The name of the person seen in the photo is Meera. She is a model based out of Kannur in Kerala. We can see photos from the temple on her Instagram Id. She can be seen carrying a lamp called Chamayavilakku (ചമയവിളക്ക്) from which the name of the festival comes from.
We spoke to the publicity convener of Kottankulangara Bhagwathi temple, Mr. Jayakrishnan. He clarified that there is no competition held for best make-up in the temple. He said, “This is a ritual and every year men come here in Saree and make-up and offer prayers to the goddess. Only men are allowed to participate in this ritual. However, transwoman who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery are also allowed to perform the ritual. We do not give prizes for best make-up or costume.”
The person seen in the viral photo is not a man dressed as a woman but a model from Kannur, Meera. Meera is a transwoman who had participated in the Chamayavilakku festival in Kottankulangara Bhagwathi temple in Kollam district of Kerala. In this temple, men dress up as woman to pay obeisance to the goddess.
Transwomen who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery also participate in this festival. Hence, Meera’s photo might have been mistaken as some man who participated in the festival. In addition, the temple does not give any prize for best make-up or costume.
Title:Viral Photo Does Not Show a Cross-dressed Man Participating in Chamayavilakku Festival in Kerala Temple…Fact Check By: Harish Nair
Result: Partly False