12 April 2007

British "goddess" wants to extend stay in India

Stephen Cooper, a British man who says he has a "gender identity disorder", has been worshipped for the past month in Gujarat, either as a goddess, or as the goddess' messenger. He has spent this month at a temple in the town of Becharaji, which draws many Hindu eunuchs, who visit the temples hoping to have their "manhood" restored in the next life. They have been seeking blessings from Cooper and addressing him as "Ma", or "mother".

Cooper, who has changed his name to Pema (which means "lotus"), and is considered by some to be an incarnation of Bahuchar Mata, the patron goddess of eunuchs, came to India on a six-month visa, but would like to remain in Becharaji for the rest of his life (BBC).

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