Here are some inspiring stories to read, this LGBTQIA+ PRIDE month!
Pushed to the margins of the mainstream world, the lives of transgender individuals in India are replete with umpteen challenges and an unmatched struggle. Despite being embroiled amid shambles of neglect and invisibility, some spirited transgender women have succeeded to craft glorious journeys. Through their will and determination, these exceptional women have become the shining stars of the deprived community. As we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ PRIDE month, here are 5 transgender women from Mumbai who are the first in their respective fields!
Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi
If there is a name synonymous with the transgender revolution in India, it has to be Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. Unwavered by the expectations of society, she lived a life true to her intrinsic self and eventually became the 1st transgender woman to represent Aisa Pacific at the United Nations.
From being an actor-dancer to leading the world of activism, she dons multiple caps professionally. Further, she also shoulders the responsibilities of high priestess at the newly formed Kinnar Akhara. A voice that can never be shunned, she has also participated in numerous reality TV shows like Bigg Boss, winning love and appreciation from across the country!
Popularly known for her loved TV commercial, where she asserted her identity as a mother, Gauri Sawant is one of the first transgender women who came to the limelight. Given her social appeal and efficacious personality, she recently became the 1st transgender person to hold the post of an Election Commission ambassador!
Through her organisation, Sakhi Char Chowghi, she helps fellow transgender persons and people affected by HIV/AIDS. Leading the trans rights from the front, she was one of the petitioners, who demanded separate identification from the Supreme Court of India. Additionally, she is claimed to be the first to seek adoption rights for transgender people.
With growing internal conflict and crippled dreams at a young age, thinking about a life of bright aspirations is a thing of privilege for many transgender folks. Tough as the times might have been, Aqsa Sheikh's desire to excel drove her towards becoming a doctor. Today, she is the country's 1st and the only transwoman doctor to head a COVID inoculation centre!
Working as the Associate Professor of Community Medicine at Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, she helps a large number of patients daily. During the pandemic, she regularly intervened to spread awareness among netizens with simplified videos on her Instagram account. Charming and delightful, Aqsa is an inspiration in all ways!
Zoya Thomas Lobo
Amid the uncertainties ushered by the COVID pandemic, fate blossomed for Zoya Thomas Lobo leading her up the trajectory of widespread fame and recognition. Despite being unable to complete her education as a child, she emerged victorious against all odds accomplishing the tag of the country's '1st transwoman to become a photojournalist'!
Through the early days of her life, Zoya performed the traditional work of Mangti(Begging) and now her clicked snapshots have made it to some of the top daily publications. She aspires to scale greater heights in this newfound career and further envisions training other people from the community in the same field.
Labeled as the 1st registered transgender person to graduate from Mumbai University, Sridevi Londhe embodies a story of strength and courage. Faced with abuse and trauma during the young years of her life, she never let her spirits down and prioritised education as the key to progress in life.
Through continuous efforts, she successfully graduated with a bachelor's in arts from Mumbai varsity and took up a master's program from IGNOU thereafter. Besides this, she is a skilled make-up artist and has also completed a training program in interior design. Passionate about incessant learning and social work, she is an idol for many like her!
While all sections of society are trudging up the path of progress, the needs of the transgender community still stand to be ignored. Despite multiple state interventions in the past decade to assure their development, social stigmas and conditioned prejudices still continue to hamper their lives. If the right environment and opportunities are guaranteed, every individual is capable of leading positive changes in this world, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or any other innate identity!