Transgender folk dancer Matha B Manjamma Jogati receives Padma Shri Award .

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday presented the Padma Shri to Manjamma Jogati, the first trans-president of the Karnataka Janapada Academy, for her contribution to the arts.

In a video clip tweeted by news agency ANI, Manjamma Jogati approaches the President and then makes a gesture that many in social media said was to wish him luck. She then receives the award, with a warm smile that won hearts. The President also seems touched by the gesture as he hands over the award.

Manjamma Jogati is the first trans-president of the Karnataka Janapada Academy, the state government’s top institution for folk art forms.

For Manjamma Jogati, now in her early 60s, the Padma honours comes after decades of social and financial struggle. Originally named Manjunath Shetty, Manjamma Jogati began to identify as a woman in adolescence. Her family then took her to Huligeyamma’s temple near Hospet to be initiated as a Jogappa — a community of transgenders that has dedicated themselves in the service of the fiery Goddess Renuka Yellamma. Members of this community are considered married to the goddess.

In 2006, she was awarded the Karnataka Janapada Academy Award and, 13 years later, in 2019, she was appointed president of the institution. In 2010, Karnataka government honoured her with the annual Kannada Rajyotsava award

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