Me Lakshmi, Me Hijra

Lakshmi Tripathi

Strong men. Strong women. What about those who belong to neither? This is her story. This is the story of Lakshmi Tripathi, the transgender right activist and one among the key personalities for whom transgenders has been considered as the ‘third gender’. She is a Bharatnatyam dancer, an actress and also a motivational speaker. She has spoken on multiple platforms about her life experiences and inspires millions of young souls who are from the third gender. She is a fountain of inspiration for everyone. Currently, she serves as the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of Kinnar Akhada. She represented the Asia Pacific in United Nations, back in 2008 and is so far the only transgender person to have done so.

Her life has been quite a journey. She discovered at quite a young age that she is different. She was called names in school to which she hardly cared about a certain point in time. She started her journey as a choreographer and then went to become a bar dancer. After Maharashtra Home Minister decided to shut the state bars, she protested against the move. That was the start of her activism. She then went to represent the cause of transgenders and sexual minorities.

In 2002, she was associated with the NGO DAI Welfare Society that worked for the welfare of transgenders in Asia. She later started her own NGO Astitva in 2007. Back in 2005, she had also starred in one award-winning documentary named ‘Between the Lines: India’s Third Gender. She had also participated in Bigg Boss and many other TV reality shows like 10 ka Dum.

She is currently engaged to transmale bodybuilder Aryan Pasha and lives in Mumbai with two children whom the couple had adopted. Her success story is proof of how self-love is the best way of acceptance. Her book, ‘Me Lakshmi, Me Hijra’ is a popular one that talks about her life struggles. She is one of the pioneers of the empowerment of transgenders in India.

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