My involvement for the betterment of the Hijda community will continue till I die,” says transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripati, at the music launch of the Bollywood film, Queens! The Destiny Of Dance. The 30-year-old, who stars in the movie, has been a part of various documentaries and short films; she recently attended the UN Development Program to address the problems faced by transsexuals in India.
The movie is based on the life of eunuchs in India. Many stories in the film have been inspired by real-life incidents. “I was approached for the movie in 2000. But work began only two years ago,” says Laxmi, who runs her own NGO, Astitva. “Hijdas have been stereotyped and mocked in Bollywood. There is more to us than clapping and garish make-up. This movie will portray the real struggles we transsexuals go through.”
Well-known members of the film fraternity came out to support Laxmi. Present at the music launch were Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor and Nitin Mukesh. “Transsexual are looked down upon by the society. They have no choice, but to work as bar dancers and prostitutes due to the lack of any other work,” says Laxmi. She hopes the movie will help generate some empathy among the people.
Laxmi says she will consider the movie a success only when the transgender community in India is given an equal opportunity to education, housing and employment.