1. Manabi Bandyopadhyay - India’s first transgender principal
Discrimination has been a major issue all over the world. It is not so easy to live happily when you are constantly being belittled on the basis of your sexuality. While we may not relate to this, every transgender person has had to face this behaviour from the society. Unlike us, they have to put in extra efforts and hard work in order to be respected. However, everything changes with time. While the taboos in society pushed transgender people down, there were many who rose up through the difficulties to make a name for themselves. As you watch the latest Bengali TV serial Phirki, which follows the life of the titular character who lives with her mother Laxmi, a transgender woman, here is a list of famous people you have to know about. After all, it is all about #SomanSamman.
A professor of Bengali literature, Manabi Bandyopadhyay paved the path towards sexual equality by earning the position of the principal of Krishnanagar Women’s college. She fought against discrimination and gender issues, and used her position to voice the need for strength in the LGBTQ community while being a part of their human rights struggle. She is the author of Ontohin Ontorin Prositovortika, a Bengali novel which went on to become a national bestseller.
2. Madhu Bai Kinnar - India’s first transgender mayor
After the decision of legalising the third gender, Madhu Bai Kinnar won the position of the mayor of Raigarh, Chattisgarh. She emerged victorious with over 4,500 votes after contesting in the elections. Madhu, who has been an active spokesperson for gender equality, pledged to fight against discrimination with her power.
3. K. Prithika Yashini - India’s first transgender police officer
Being a police officer in India is not an easy task. In such a rat-race, K. Prithika Yashini fought her way through the system to get the job of a sub-inspector. She had been rejected continuously due to discrepancy in her birth certificate. However, her struggle and determination reached the ears of the Madras High Court which then ordered the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board to hire her immediately.
4. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi - India’s first transgender Asia Pacific representative at UN
After penning down her struggles in the form of an autobiography called, Me Hijra, Me Laxmi, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi went on to represent the Asia Pacific region in the United Nations. Her autobiography talks about the struggles and battles she had been a part of, which led to her becoming an activist to support her community.
5. Joyita Mondal - India’s first transgender judge
An inspiration for many, Joyita was born in a normal household and shunned due to her sexual identity. Despite the backlash from society, she managed to stand up for her rights and decided to fight for the upliftment of the transgender community. She completed her education and became the judge of a Lok Adalat in 2017.
6. Shabnam Mausi - India’s first transgender MLA
A strong individual who recognised herself as transgender since birth, Shabnam decided to fight for all the transgender people around her and chose a rough road to prove her mettle. She contested elections from Sohagpur constituency. Despite not being supported by her own family during her childhood, she managed to learn a lot and today, with a strong command over 12 different languages, her reputation precedes her.
Truly inspiring, aren’t they? Tell us what you think about these torch-bearers of equality in the comments section below.
Want to watch the struggles of a dark-skinned girl? Watch all episodes of Krishnakoli on ZEE5.