Meet India’s 10 Iconic Transgender Achievers Who Scripted History

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam, Ashutosh Bhardwaj

For ages, members the transgender community have been disregarded and ill-treated by the society. In 2014, however, in a historic verdict, the Supreme Court recognised the transgender community as the ‘third gender’, giving them their long due right.

From pariahs to achievers, meet some members of the transgender community who have fought discrimination and intimidation to come out with flying colours.

Padmini Prakash

Ostracised by her family, she attempted to kill herself when she was 13. Despite her troubled childhood, Padmini went on to become India's first transgender prime-time anchor at LotusTV, a local news channel in Coimbatore, in 2014.

Padmini Prakash

K Prithika Yashini

The first transgender police officer in Tamil Nadu, K Prithika Yashini fought a legal battle to be identified as 'transgender' on her application form to join the police force. Today, she is a sub-inspector in Chennai.

Prithika Yashini

Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay

Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay

Assigned male at birth, Manabi Bandopadhyay had a gender realignment surgery in 2003.

In 2005, she became India's first transgender to have acquired a PhD in Bengali literature. On 7 June 2015, Bandopadhyay was appointed the first transgender college principal of Krishnagar Women's College in West Bengal. In 1995, she had also published the first transgender magazine, Ob-Manab, which means 'sub-human'.

"“My father was never happy with my femininity and he always taunted me. But I never gave up. It has been a long struggle for me and I overcame it somehow.”" - Manabi Bandopadhyay, Principal, Krishnagar Women’s CollegeLaxmi Narayan Tripathi

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

In 2008, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi became the country’s first transgender to represent Asia Pacific at the UN, but her childhood was scarred by abuse.

She is a social activist who founded 'Astitva' trust in 2007 for the welfare of the trans community.

She is also the founder of the ‘Kinnar Akhada’ that created history by taking the first 'shahi snan' at the the Kumbh Mela in 2018.

"“For a trans woman, it’s like we are toys in the hand of patriarchy. We are molested, we are insulted. The courts even say that it is impossible for us to be molested. On the ground, it’s the same-old story. People call us chakka, hijra...we are called by a bunch of names. There is so much violence. In my community, there are thousands of Nirbhayas. You can’t imagine how many of the us are raped and killed.”" - Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Transgender activist6 Pack Band

Even Yash Raj Films has taken note of India's first transgender musical band, 6 Pack Band. The team even won the Cannes Grand Prix Glass lion in 2016.

The 6 Pack Band

And the list does not end here...

Here are a few more people who are making the trans-community proud.

  • Joyita Mondal – India's first transgender judge who was appointed at Lok Adalat in North Bengal in October 2017
  • Nitasha Biswas – India's first transgender beauty queen, crowned in 2017
  • Sathyasri Sharmila – India's first transgender lawyer, appointed in June 2018
  • Jiya Das – India's first transgender operation theatre technician, appointed in June 2018
  • Esther Bharathi – India's first transgender pastor, who now even conducts weddings

Despite the 2014 Supreme Court judgment, transgenders continue to be the targets of harassment and humiliation. However, the achievements of these transgender people is proof that the barriers are slowly breaking.

So, this transgender day of remembrance, let us pledge for equal rights for all.

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