The Hindu Newspaper
Through her thoughts, actions and never-say-die attitude to life and the many adversaries that have come her way on account of her decision to live as a transwoman, Kalki has transformed herself into a role model for the transgender community, many of whom still live a marginalised existence on the fringes of society.
For more than a decade Kalki has been working for the social, political, legal and economic rights of the transgender people of India and has been an active supporter and champion of LGBTQI rights in India. In 2008, she found the organisation Sahodari Foundation (www.sahodari.org). Through Sahodari Foundation, Kalki has been transforming the lives of hundreds of transgender people across India.
Kalki’s contribution in bringing change through her activism has been tremendous. In the past 15 years of her activism, Kalki has inspired more than a million students through her lectures across India among young students in colleges and Universities. From Punjab to Tamilnadu, from Gujarat to Assam, she has been invited by almost all top universities in India.
In 2014, Indian Supreme court verdict legally recognised transgender people and subsequently directing the central and state governments to protect and take action for the welfare of the community. This has been an important milestone victory in the battle for justice for the transgender community in India. . Kalki’s contribution towards this court verdict has been very important. She was one of the few activists who lobbied strongly among the judiciary for social justice for transgender community. Read the full text by Kalki here. Read the documentation by Delhi Legal Services Authority (DALSA) here.
Through Sahodari Foundation, she made pioneering work in activism. Even a decade ago, she has trained transgender women as community journalists and made them as documentary film makers. In 2009, when media wasn’t interested in knowing the core problems of the transgender community, Kalki created a media for the underprivileged transgender people using the internet technology as a tool of empowerment. She created the Community Journalism project called ‘Project Kalki‘ through which she encouraged transgender people to tell their stories through short video films.
In 2010, when a mainstream matrimonial website removed a profile uploaded by a transgender woman, she created world’s first matrimonial website for Transwomen. The website was an year later defunct due to lack of funds. In 2011, she did a lead role in a major Tamil motion picture called ‘Narthaki’ becoming India’s first heroine of a major feature film. She was praised for her performance in the film.
Kalki has always used her literary, art and film contributions for the upliftment of the transgender and non binary people. In 2014, her first book in Tamil, a collection of her poetry was released by Vikatan publishers as ‘Kuri Aruthaen’. Her deep and angry poems are in the text books of colleges of Tamilnadu in the educational curriculum.
From 2016, Kalki started using art as a major tool for activism. From doing solo exhibitions, teaching the transgender community on art-making and doing the group show, she is tapping and transforming the transgender artists into becoming professionals and earn a livelihood out of art.