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SAURABH SINGH
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CHAT Laxmi Narayan Tripathi speaks about the Bigg Boss experience and transgender rights

R ecently in news for participating in “Bigg Boss”, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is a transgender activist of international repute. Laxmi is the only transgender in the UN's Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS. Having done reality shows like “Sach Ka Saamna”, “Raaz Pichle Janam Ka”, Laxmi has become the voice of transgender people in the popular media. Excerpts:

What was your purpose for doing “Big Boss”?

I wanted to show the world and Indian society in general, that when a certain transgender like me can live, not merely stay, with so many different celebrities, with love and compassion, being a part of such a big reality show, how different is that from living in harmony with the society? If people give us love, treat us as one of them, we are only going to give them something, we will not take anything away from them. This is essentially what I wanted to prove, I don't know to what extent I succeeded, but yes, I see some change in near future. How was the entire “Big Boss” experience?

Those were some of the best days of my life. Everyone showered me with love and blessings, inside the Big Boss house. Society never gave me so much love, not that I have any hard feelings or anything, but yes, life was never so good until now. These 42 days have been like 42 moments, where I had fun, received love, made long lasting relationships. I couldn't have asked for more!

How do you plan to take this cause forward?

Well, I have been involved with social work for the last 12 years. I have been fighting for transgender rights for as long as I can remember, and I'll continue to do that. I have a number of organisations that are involved in working for transgenders. What according to you is the reason behind the present state of transgender persons in India?

A lot of things in India are based on baseless assumptions. The education system does not accept people like us. Lack of education leads to lack of employment, and unemployment leads to poverty. Society looks at us in a way as if we are degraded, inhuman. We are treated as a social stigma. Even talking to us is considered taboo by some. All these things add up to build the bigger picture of discrimination. What about transgender rights in India?

I am actually planning to lodge a petition in Supreme Court, regarding the constitutional rights of transgenders. I am sure that will be a big boom as far as our status is concerned, since we will have our rights on paper and that essentially is the first and the most important step in safeguarding our future.

Once we have and know our rights, I can indulge in far more effective social work, since we will have something to support us constitutionally.

How different is the scene in India as compared to the West?

There is no comparison whatsoever. I mean, transgender people in the West are treated as an essential part of society. They are given equal respect, they are not treated like some abnormal people. On the other hand, here we have no opportunities, no laws to back us.

SAURABH SINGH

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