Inspiration Corner: Indian Transgenders Who Are Trailblazers for Their Community

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Transgender community, also known as the Hijra community in India, faces social stigma and discrimination all their lives. Very few are given the opportunity and the kind of support needed to rise from this social debris and make a stand. Supreme Court’s decision to recognize a ‘third gender’ was a landmark judgement that restored a lot of people’s dignity. But, will this decision bring about a change in the social realm?

Acceptance is what they want. Acceptance is what all of us want. Isn’t it?

Manabi Banerjee, a transgender who was seen in Bigg Boss Bangla hosted by superstar Mithun Chakraborty is now set to head the Krishnagar Women’s College in West Bengal. This decision does not only reflect on how the Indian society is opening its horizons towards the transgender community but also marks the beginning of a new path for the said community.

A few inspirational stories of Indian transgender people have been mentioned below.

LAXMI NARAYAN TRIPATHI

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Based in Mumbai, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, is the first transgender to represent Asia Pacific in the UN. An Indian actress, a Bharatanatyam dancer and a transgender rights’ activist, Laxmi has worked as a part of various NGOs. She is one of the founding board members of the Dai Welfare Society – an organisation that works for the well-being of transgender community. Born in an orthodox Brahmin family as the eldest son, Laxmi was laughed at as a child and an adult. None of this, however, stopped her from fulfilling her dreams.

PADMINI PRAKASH

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India’s first transgender news anchor, Padmini Prakash started presenting a prime time news show on August 15, 2014 on Lotus TV , a news channel based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Padmini has done a lot of work, including transgender rights’ activism, dancing, competing beauty pageants and even acting in soap operas. Like many other people from her community, she also had a troubled childhood and even tried to commit suicide. Well, she is happy now because she has paved a way for herself.

KALKI SUBRAMANIAM

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With two masters’ degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and International Relations, Kalki Sunbramaniam is India’s first transgender entrepreneur. Seeing many people from her community engaging into social work, dancing and performing arts, she felt the need to start a new wave- the need to generate income and awareness about the same for her community. To encourage this, she started the Sahodari Foundation, an organisation working towards empowerment of transgender people.

SHABNAM ‘MAUSI’ BANO

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Shabnam Bano, popularly known as Shabnam Mausi, is India’s first transgender person to be elected to a public office. She was an elected member of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003. In 2003, she started her own political party which came to be called “Jeeti Jitayi Party” (JJP). In 2005, a biopic based on her life was released. The film was directed by Yogesh Bhardwaj and Ashutosh Rana played the role of Shabnam Mausi. She does not just represent her community, she is also a representative of the government. Feels good to know, doesn’t it?

SIMRAN SHAIKH

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Working as a part of India HIV/AIDS Alliance, Simran Shaikh is a true example of the wonders that come alive when one accepts their own identity, when they start believing in themselves. As a 14 year old Parsi boy, Simran ran from her home and has, since then, worked as a bar dancer and a commercial sex worker before becoming a social activist. Just before joining India HIV/AIDS Alliance, she worked for the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust.

She cares, why can’t we?

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