Meet Kalki Subramanium: India’s first transgender entrepreneur

Meet Kalki Subramanium: India's first transgender entrepreneur

From battling gender inequality throughout her adolescence to founding the Sahodari Foundation, an organization that works to better the life of transgenders in the country, Kalki Subramaniam, author, poet, activist, artist and actress, has always been at the forefront of transgender activism and entrepreneurship in the country.

A transgender herself, Subramaniam had to fight for respect and acceptance from those around her, and now helps other transgender people, whom she says are often “neglected by parents and peers, denied education and sexually harassed at work places, forced to indulge in flesh trade and beg for a living.”

To this end, Subramaniam has dedicated her life to advance the rights of transgender individuals and uplift the transgender community. She founded the Sahodari Foundation, which helps transgenders acquire financial assistance for educational opportunities, runs entrepreneurship training programs for skills development and connects them with potential employers to help them secure jobs. Subramanium also holds seminars in colleges in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to raise awareness, and a first of its kind transgender matrimonial website has also been started.

More recently, Subramaniam hosted an exhibition of her paintings, which reflect her gender fluidity, and which is being sold online on Bengaluru-based crowdfunding platform Fuel A Dream to raise 2 lakhs for transgenders from poor backgrounds who were rescued from sex trafficking for their education and medical expenses.

Source: Huffington Post

Fighting for transgender and other marginalised communities is a herculean task but Subramaniam doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, inspiring other transgenders in India to refuse to be relegated to the fringes through every endeavour she undertakes. Despite coming a long way, she is aware that there’s still a lot that needs to be done to achieve meaningful change. Yet, she remains optimistic, advising transgenders in India to “Never lose hope, be courageous, and finally, be yourself.”

Follow Kalki Subramanium on FacebookTwitter, and read her blog for more on her personal experiences, challenges and achievements.

Featured image source: Firstpost

Written by Nikhil Srinivas


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