Jagada Guru, a kothi from Devanapattinam, prepares to play the goddess Amman in the Mayanakollai festival, which was put on in Devanapattinam by a group of people, which included several kothis. March 2013.
Jagada Guru, whose Kothi name is Arundhati, sits with his two children while visiting Sivagami’s house and temple, November 2013.
Kavia Varshini - who also goes by the name Shamla - poses for a portrait in Sivagami’s house in Devenappatinam, November 2013.
Kavia Varshini (Shamla) who is a classical dancer, performs for a gathering of kothis at Sivaga- mi’s house. November 2013
Sheethal smokes a cigarette in her apartment in Pondicherry. Sheethal acts as a guru to many of the younger kothis in this community who refer to her as their mother and she to them as her daughters. March 2013
A group of people, including several kothis prepare food at Sivagami’s house. For many of the kothis, who live with their families, being able to prepare and serve food – considered to be “women’s work” is a way for them to express part of their female identity. November, 2013
Chitra, a kothi priest from outside of Cuddalore, poses for a portrait while cutting down wood used for cooking. Many kothis choose to do this kind of work – which is traditionally done by women – as another way to express their female identity. November 2013.
Mohana holds her niece while sitting with her family in their house in the village of Devanapattinam. November 2013
Mohana, preparing to play the Goddess Kali at the Mayanakollai festival in the village of Devenappatinam. March 2013
Sivagami standing in the doorway of her house, where she lives with her mother. After an argument with people from her original temple in Devenappatinam, she has built an idol and temple at her house. Her house has become a place where many kothis gather together. Devenappatinam, November 2013.
Sivagami, temple priestess, makes offerings to the Gods. Devenappatinam, March 2013.
Sivagami and Mani Kandam pose for a photo together at Sivagami’s house. November 2013
Two daughters of Sheethal get ready for a function celebrating Sheethal’s first birth- day – marking one year after her gender-reassignment (“bottom”) surgery. Pondicherry, November 2013.
Lakshaya (far right) poses with her mother and brother in their house in Devenappatinam. Laksheaya’s family are very supportive of her kothi identity. Her brother often hangs out with she her kothi friends. Mohana and Lakshaya are best friends and confidantes. November 2013.
Sheethal celebrating her “first birthday” – marking one year after her gender-reassign- ment (“bottom”) surgery. Pondicherry, November 2013.
Sheethal taking puja at her “first birthday” – marking one year after her gender-reas- signment (“bottom”) surgery. Pondicherry, November 2013.
Men in the village of Devenapattinam dressed as Gods during the Mayanakollai festival, March 2013
Raja, a body builder who also dresses as a woman to perform classical Indian dance and who has kothi sexual partners, poses for a portrait in Devenapattinam, March 2013
A performer during the Mayanakollai festival in Devenappatinam. March 2013
One of Sheethal’s daughters poses for a portrait during Sheethal’s celebration in Pondicherry, Novemebr 2013
Sivagami with a group of kothi friends during the Mayanakollai festival in the village of Devenappatinam. March 2013
Dinesha, exhausted, after playing Goddess Kali in the Mayanakollai festival, March 2013