CULTURE

Seven Powerful Quotes by Transgender Rights Activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi You Should Read

The first transgender person to represent Asia Pacific in the UN President's Office Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS in 2008, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi wears many hats—transgender/Hijra rights activist, actress, dancer, author. Here are some powerful words by the social activist that you should know.

By SAHAJIYA HALDER

1. "My purity cannot be measured by society’s standards. My purity is to my own self, to my own parameters. It is how I have conducted myself throughout my life and continue to. I decide my own standards and I abide by them. I have my own sense of integrity that’s very strong and in place, which nobody else has decided for me. My spirituality is to my soul, and it is for me. It should work for me. The world cannot have a say in that."

 

Source: Red Lipstick: The Men In My Life, Laxmi with Pooja Pande, Penguin Viking

 

2. "There are no good or bad women. The concept of good girls going to heaven and bad ones being thrashed into the hell is beyond my mind’s eye. It is the situation that makes a human bad or good; you just can’t judge and call him/her good or evil. I don’t believe in morality. I believe in survival. These perceptions are ages-old. The mythical story of Lord Lakshmana drawing a line outside the home for Goddess Sita saddens me to death. The line that she wasn’t supposed to cross while he and his brother were away. That ‘Lakshmana Rekha’ is now the ‘Dahleej’ that must be observed by every woman. It determines the character of a woman."

 

Source: Indian Women Blog

 

3. "When we started our activism, we had to tell people, “We exist, we are humans. Please give us nothing but our basic dignity.” The biggest misery in the world, I believe, is the feeling of being unloved, and that this community faces a lot. You’re not even considered to be human. You’re considered transparent."

 

Source: Guernica Magazine

 

4. "A society will bloom only when a person is not discriminated on the basis of gender. I believe in this and this is why I feel, non-discriminatory policies are significant."

 

Source: Kalam Vishesh organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation [in Hindi];
India Blooms News Service [in English]

 

5. "But the problem is that we ourselves don't love ourselves. How many of us, women or men, have the time to sit and love your own self? We don't, because we're never taught. Especially women in India are never taught… You have to love yourself, because till you don't love yourself, how you will have even the slightest thought of giving love unconditionally? It is all about giving. I am very comfortable in my skin."

 

Source: Changing Gender Dynamics in Current Structure of India, TEDx Talks

 

6. "Normally, people ask me, 'Laxmi, when you felt that you were different?' I never felt I was different. The world made me realise that I was different."

 

Source: A journey beyond the two check-boxes of gender, TEDx Talks

 

7. "I'm a Hijra, I'm a Kinnar, I'm transgender—'transgender' is the umbrella term. And I accepted myself as what I was, and many other sisters around the world and in this country do accept themselves and they live a life, but everybody has to pay a heavy price of it, only for taking the decision of living as you are. Your parents disown you, your siblings disown you, the society treats you as a transparent object—your complete human existence gets wiped out from the society. That is only because you decided in your life to stay as what you are. You decided not to be hypocrite. Your mind decided, with your soul, that, 'I will live this way'."

 

Source: Unlocking Closed Minds, TEDx Talks

 

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