Keywords: empowerment of transgenders, transgender rights activists, lgbt activists, sexual minority, literacy rate
Kalki Subramanyam is the founder of “Sahodari Foundation,” an organization working far the empowerment of transgenders in India. As a transgender rights activist, actor and a transsexual woman, she works for the community on several issues. In an exclusive interview to Chandramohan, Kalki shares the experiences and grievances of her community. Excerpts from the interview:
Could you trace your journey as an LGBT activist?
I have been active as a transgender for quite sometime now and I am overwhelmed with the success. You see, my goal in life is to work towards a better future for sexual minorities and of course, we have a long way to go.
How do you reflect on the recent Section 377 judgment by the Supreme Court of India?
That was a very fortunate judgment to say the least. It is very saddening that homosexuality was re-criminalized in India as part of a colonial jurisprudence. When the Britishers themselves have undone this law, it is very regressive and deplorable to continue with such conservative practices.
Dear Kalki, what are your views on affirmative action for the sexual minorities?
Yes, I welcome such a step by the government of India and by various states. There has been a suggestion by the Supreme Court to include the transgender community into the Other Backward Classes list. But we do not enjoy any other schemes of reservation as of now In the western societies, some progressive measures have been institutionalized.
What are your hopes as an LGBT activist?
We are working on building a think tank who will articulate views on every issue that concerns us. The future of democracy depends on the voices from the margins who will redefine the centre.
How do you reflect on art for social change?
I think cinema is a good medium for such causes. The Tamil film Kanchana directed by Lawrence Raghavendra shows transgender community in a positive light. The malayalam movie Ardhanareshwaran in which I played the heroine was very good.
Why do you think Kerala is a particularly a hard place for sexual minorities?
I have had very pleasant experiences in Kerala as part of my activism. The people, especially younger generation is much more welcoming and progressive towards our causes. Though Kerala has cent percent literacy rate and very rich in culture, the gender bias is quite acute and painful. The people have to be sensitized on these issues that affect the margins of the society.
What are your expectations from the new dispensation at the Centre?
We request them to implement the Supreme Court directive on affirmative action and other schemes for us.
CHANDRAMOHAN. Is a poet and activist settled in Kochi.