The famous transgender rights activist, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi took to stage once again to spread awareness about the LGBT community. The actor, dancer and the Voice of Asia at the UN spoke about religion and it’s take on homosexuality according to her. For the uninitiated, Laxmi is a hijra and she happens to be the first transgender person to represent Asia Pacific in the UN in 2008. She has always been vocal about the ill treatment transgender people face in different walks of life and how the people belonging to the LGBT community need to be respected. Often, eunuchs and transgender folks are condemned by the society on the basis of religion, but today Laxmi came forward with a different point of view.
At a recently concluded event held at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai on 15th February, the guest speaker had the following things to say:
1. In India, transgender people form a sexual minority and thus we are a minority within the minorities of India.
2. The LGBT movement started from Thane, Mumbai due to the rising numbers of hijras and then it has spread to the rest of the nation.
3. There are also references to transgenders and eunuchs in the Holy Bible and we were always honoured and kept in high regard in the all religions.
4. Section 377 was imposed by the British and it was them who cut off the transgender community from the mainstream society.
5. Religion is how you perceive it as an individual, it is for everybody. Religion is not a property of any community or a politician.
6. Within the transgenders and the LGBT community, we don’t have discrimination; in fact we are much more secular than India has a country.
7. The media has been an instrumental figure in making our movement a possibility.
8. Religion is nice; it is the gatekeepers of religion that are a**holes. Don’t perceive religion through others but pick up your religious books and read them.
9. Feminine power has always played an important role in religion. As a child I was always attracted by religion, in the 6th standard, for one of my projects, I read all religious books.
10. For a son or daughter to be open to their family about their sexuality, the family should be open and supportive towards the child’s sexuality and orientation.
11. Today people are trying to rewrite history, religion and culture. But if you know religion really well then you will know that religion never discriminates on the basis of sexuality.
12. In India transgenders have played an important role in history; they have been advisers and generals during the Mughal period and ancient times. In Fact, Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last ruler of the Mughals in India had appointed a transgender as his general.
13. We have been targeted and insulted from the past 317 years: For 250 years it was the British who humiliated us and then it was 67 years of independent India which is to be blamed.