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Founder - Sahodari Foundation | Transgender Rights Activist | Artist & Author | Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam

"We are not others" Kalki Subramaniam

A Robust Support System

I'm originally from Pollachi, a stunning town in Tamil Nadu. My mother was managing our family, while my father worked in the transportation industry. My siblings are two sisters, one older and one younger. Ours is a very close-knit family. No matter what, we are always there for each other. I believe that family is our biggest strength. My mother was a voracious reader who instilled the habit of reading in us. I must admit that I have always been an avid reader myself.

It was reading that showed me the direction of life, while my family’s love held me strong and supported me to endure all my struggles. Not every gender-conforming kid can get that love and support, but luckily, I was privileged. I wish every transgender person in our country got that kind of support. It will transform and enable their lives forever.

Fight for Social Acceptance

Being stuck in a gender non-conforming situation as a teenager, I faced many hardships and struggles during my younger days. I also saw how my friends, who were in a similar situation to mine, left their homes and ran away to Mumbai and Delhi. They even turned to sex workers and beggar businesses to survive. All this left me heartbroken and angry, but I didn’t lose hope.

The anger that arose from the injustices done to my friends gave me the strength and courage to face challenges in life. I was turning into an activist, representing the voice of our community and working to ensure that what happened to my friends did not happen to other people from the transgender community. I stood up, fought, and won back my dignity.

The Birth of an Activist

Right from my teenage years, I have been growing up with so many queer people and have witnessed transgender people of my age not being accepted by their families, being excluded from the house, and becoming homeless. I was nowhere near a position to help them, so I kept watching what was happening to them. Meeting my friends after a couple of decades enraged me, seeing how much they had lost in life. The fire inside me was the reason for turning into an activist, a social worker, and the voice of the neglected, underprivileged, and voiceless community of transgender people.

Shaping a Respectable Career

Talking about careers, I have multiple ones, and I am multifaceted. Beyond being an activist for the transgender community, I’m also a poet, writer, artist, actor, and entrepreneur.

I have recently released a book called 'We Are Not the Others,' which offers a candid and heartfelt depiction of various experiences from my own life and those of transgender individuals I have known since childhood. The book comprises a combination of poetry, monologues, essays, and illustrations accompanying each piece. I am delighted to share that several poems from the book have been incorporated into the educational curriculum of numerous colleges.

I firmly believe that if you choose social work as your profession; remember that you need to hone your skills constantly. You need to be very good at languages, nonviolent communication, compassion, and knowledge in the field. It is a very soul-satisfying profession where you can use all your skills.