He struck up the courage to approach the Umzinto hairdresser, sparking a “beautiful” romance that culminated in their marriage in a small KwaZulu-Natal South Coast town.
Nothing unusual, except that Ramchuran is transgender - realising since ‘she’ was 10 that she was a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
“I always knew I wanted to be a girl,” she told POST. “I used to like dressing up in women’s clothing and would wear make-up. I never really ‘came out’ as it was always taken for granted I was gay and my family and friends accepted me for who I am.”
Ramchuran has taken her husband’s surname since their traditional Hindu wedding at the Blue Horizon Club last month.
Shy about revealing her age, she said she hoped to one day undergo a sex-change operation.
Marrying Naidoo, the man of her dreams, she said, proved that love had no boundaries.
She wanted to share her story as people often failed to understand that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are also human beings.
“As people of different sexual orientation, we are often judged by society. However, we feel the same pain and breathe the same air,” said Lesley.
“We often feel hurt, embarrassed or humiliated when questioned about our relationships or in my case, sexuality. At the end of it all, it is time to break stereotypes.”
Recalling how they met, she said she was at a temple and Leeandren was also there.
“I wore a sari and it caught his attention. He spoke to some of my friends and eventually mustered up the courage to approach me. He said I looked attractive.”
Leeandren, who came out the closet in his late teens, said: “When I saw her, I didn’t know if she was male or female. I am straightforward and asked and she was honest.”
A beautiful friendship, Lesley said, developed and this led to a relationship.
They began dating and Leeandren proposed at Lesley’s home in May.
“I could not contain my excitement,” Lesley said. “He respected me and treasured our relationship and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, irrespective of my gender.
“We decided to keep our wedding traditional but simple. Our colour theme was burgundy, gold and white with beautiful drapery and flowers around the hall. I dressed like a traditional Tamil bride, with a long plait with flowers and a burgundy, gold and mustard sari. Leeandren wore a burgundy sherwani.”
Lesley said they want to live happily ever after, like every other normal couple.
“We hope that people become more open and understanding that we all are humans, just different from one another, and that it is okay.”
The couple, who were legally registered in September, are undecided on whether they will become parents in the future.
Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006.