Pastor Esther Bharathi was born in Tuticorn as the third child and first son to a Hindu family. Her parents named her "Bharath Raja." She was constantly taunted by classmates and neighbors for being feminine. "I became a loner and could not even complete Class 12," she told Times of India. Tired of family ridicule, she ran away to Chennai where she joined a group of transgender people.
As an independent pastor, she lives in a one room home in the Tsunami settlement in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. While travelling in India & abroad, she not only preaches but also raises awareness on trans issues.
In an interview, she mentioned that her proudest moment was when her niece called her "Aunty", despite admonishments from the other elders in the family to call her "Uncle".
She struggled her way through education before finding her path as a pastor. One of her sisters enrolled her in a lab technician training course in Chennai. But she had to quit because her classmates ridiculed her threading of eyebrows and use of make-up. She then moved to Coimbatore where she worked as an accountant at a weighbridge for a couple of months, but had to quit after facing harassment from truck drivers.
Two months after her graduation, in 2011, she was sent to lead a congregation of about 40 parishioners in Natarajapuram, a village approximately 60 km away from Chennai. Bharathi conducts service in Tamil and English every Sunday and also conducts baby showers and christenings. Her estranged family have finally embraced her transgender status and are proud of her work towards society.
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