14 People Revolutionising India’s Fight For LGBT Rights
- IWB Post
- October 26, 2015
When you become friends with transgenders, your actions help change the culture, making society a better, safer place for all people (trans or not). Sadly, there aren’t many of us who are willing to be their ally.
Below is a list of those who are taking this brave step:
Prince Manvendra is not just India’s, but the world’s first openly gay prince. Publicly disowned by his mother when he came out, he has been on Oprah thrice and now fights for LGBT rights in India and the world over. In 2014, he started a campaign called Free Gay India.
One half of the New York-based trans performance art duo Darkmatter, known for their artistry with words and their focus on trans rights activism, Alok Vaid-Menon is a trans-feminine Indian-American poet, performance artist, and activist. They’re best known for their stellar spoken-word poetry and, obviously, for being a work of fashion art.
The other half of Darkmatter, Janani is a graphic designer, writer, and a total punthusiast. Together, the pair work on opening dialogue about the lack of representation of trans people of colour, while simultaneously giving the world intense aesthetic goals on all levels.
Harish Iyer is a Mumbai-based LGBT rights activist, columnist, and environmentalist who stands up for a number of sociopolitical causes in India. Iyer’s mum recently had India’s first gay matrimonial ad printed in an Indian daily, seeking a “well-placed vegetarian groom” for her son.
5. Alex Mathew aka Mayamma
Alex Mathew is a Bangalore-based queer 26-year-old who is busy being a nonconformist feminist drag queen when he isn’t at his full-time job as a content writer. He’s very open on his Instagram, where he shares bits of his and Mayamma’s journey.
Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley actively participates in LGBT support movements. Last year, she made her singing debut in a music video on gay rights, and she relaunched India’s first gay magazine, Bombay Dost, in 2006.
Urvashi Vaid is a Delhi-born Indian-American LGBT rights activist. She’s openly lesbian and has bagged two honorary degrees and several awards for her literary work and activism focusing on the LGBT movement.
In July, 2014, Shadab Hassan and his transgender girlfriend, Sanjana, prepared for their wedding after struggling to gain acceptance from their families, Sanjana works as a counsellor for a community-based organisation that serves India’s self-identified third-gender population, while Shadab works for a transport company.
Earlier this year, Manabi Bandopadhyay became India’s first transgender principal at Krishnagar Women’s College in West Bengal. She has written a novel on eunuchs called Endless Bondage and focuses on LGBT rights issues in the country.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is a renowned transgender rights activist and a choreographer. She petitioned the Indian Supreme Court to recognise transgender as a third category on legal documents, and in April 2014, the court made this recognition official.
On 31 January, not fearing legal consequences, these two members of India’s LGBT community got married in a small, traditional Maharashtrian wedding, setting a brave example for the country.
Nik Dodani is an Indian-American actor, LGBT rights activist and stand-up comedian who takes the humorous road to addressing the struggles of being gay and Indian. Check out one of his stand-up sets here.
This gay Indian-born filmmaker and writer focuses on the lives of LGBT Muslims through what he does best – making documentaries. Parvez Sharma has received a lot of online abuse for his work, considering homosexuality is punishable by death in Islam, but he’s also received laurels for the same. His 2015 documentary A Sinner in Mecca recently premiered in Canada.
Madhu Kinnar made history by becoming a Dalit transgender mayor in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh Municipal Corporation, India, on 4 January this year.
This article was first published here.