photo credit: Sandeep Kumar / Newsivity India
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (known as Laxmi) is a flamboyant transgender rights activist, Bollywood film actress and professional Bharatanatyam dancer from Mumbai in India. She is the first transgender person to represent Asia Pacific in the UN in 2008. She is committed to the aims towards a kind of global LOVE REVOLUTION where equality is a right for everyone and all people are treated with respect and humanity.
At the UN assembly, she spoke of the plight of sexual minorities.
“People should be more humane. They should respect us as human beings and consider our rights as transgenders,” she said
She considers herself beyond just the title of ‘gender’ or sexuality… she considers herself first and foremost a ‘sacred soul’ and speaks about the fact that in Hinduism (and many other religions in India) her Transgender communities are revered and considered as almost demi-Gods. Wider Indian society seek blessings from, in her own words ‘the 3rd gender’ communities.
It is common tradition for people to visit the ‘Hijras’ as they are termed in India for blessings during celebrations and it is a regular occurrence that during wedding ceremonies and other celebrations, the attendance of transgender communities is seen as a blessing. Like in the above video, functions are held in Hindu temples where transgender individuals and groups lead the ceremonies and give blessings to all like sub-Gods in human form.
“Jai Shri Maha Kaal!” Laxmi is heard chanting with the large crowds chanting back at her command.
“We may have been disowned by many of our parents, and wider society may have pushed us to the outskirts to even be forced to sell our bodies to eat daily on grass roots levels, but we will always show respect to all and give blessings. It’s all about communication and I live to improve the lives of my community members worldwide!” she told us.
Laxmi is also a revered activist for transgender rights in India and she regularly lobbies to government and her group works in the interest of communities all over India.
“I am using my platform to improve the lives of others, and I am not just representing LGBT communities… I work for equality for all!” she told us.
She also speaks from a spiritual perspective during conversation by saying:
“We are first and formost sacred souls… we will all one day leave our bodies and become souls and so we must increase dialogue amongst all to be treated as equals… we are just like you!”
During filming with Laxmi, seeing the reaction of the crowds of devotees towards both her and her group is incredible and it is certainly powerful to see the respect and adulation given, in a wider world where those from LGBT communities regularly still face discrimination every single day.
Laxmi regularly lobbies to government and regularly extends invitations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit their Amhara (activist group) and said,
“Though Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has not visited their group yet, we have lot of hopes from the Prime Minister.”
Laxmi demands that a national Kinnar (Transgender) Protection and Welfare Board be constituted by the government.
Their group also work on wider society issues of environment conservation, cow protection, prevention of female foeticide and child marriage, in addition to equality issues for LGBT communities across India.
“I’m here to make a difference to others worldwide… after all, one day I will not be here and so there is no point in me just working for my own interest alone, this is not the way I am!” she told us.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is breaking barriers and is a flamboyant, highly articulate and intelligent activist and she left us inspired, and hopeful of a future where equality isn’t something people need to fight for, but a regular human right everyone owns. Until then, the world needs more people like her fighting the cause with dignity, compassion and humanity in tact… and much inner strength!
Laxmi speaks about many society issues, but at the core of her motivation is to promote quality and human rights for all…
“In life, what we all require the most is love; unconditional love! But the problem is many of us just don’t love ourselves enough, especially women. Women love their children, their husbands, their homes, their money, their makeup, but how much do they love themselves? How much time do they spend in front of the mirror? Women and everyone else need to love themselves in order to feel loved and then they can love others much better!”
“It’s time for a Love Revolution!” she says… and we couldn’t agree more!!!
Laxmi has had a book published about her fascinating life and she regularly attends global events as an activist.
Filming: Sandeep Kumar (@NewsivityIndia)
Edit and Words: Vin Sharma (@vinsharma)