Thursday, December 22, 2016

How I wish my art will transform the lives of disadvantaged people

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” 
― Vincent van Gogh

In March 2016, after an inspirational meeting with the art curator and teacher Latha Kurien Rajeev in Trivandrum, I started to paint seriously. Since then, literally speaking, I have transformed everyday of my life very colourful. Art is transforming my life for better and I hope to transform others lives better through my art. 

From childhood, I loved art. Art was one powerful medium through which I withered my gender identity crisis. 

We all express our happiness, sadness, confusion, desire, love, compassion, anger, lust and every human emotion in words, sounds, gestures, expressions, movements and writing. We have people to listen to. For me, paper and pen, brush and colours were my medium for expressions, that was where ai was not judged or bullied for what I expressed.  

Around 11th August 2016,  I came across crowdfunding platforms and realised their potential to showcase and sell my art and raise funds for myself and for the causes I believe in. That is how my campaign happened. After 3 months, i sold most of my paintings through the platform and raised my target which was INR 2,00,000. Taxes minus campaign charges, I will distribute 60% of the funds raised to the four chosen trans women and one more struggling activist brother of mine who need support.  

In the upcoming months and years I want to make more art passionately, sell them to people who genuinely cherish it and raise funds to support not only transpeople but also those poor and disadvantaged children who will need such support to pursue their studies. 

I hope and wish I have all the creative energy and the strength to pursue it and make young people's dreams for a better future gets closer to reality with my effort. 

I am blessed and feel I have been chosen for this great purpose. It gives a true meaning to my life, to my art.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” 
― Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Woman by choice

People call me a second type woman, a transgender woman, a hijra or whatever. I don't care about criticism, about being labelled and about people telling me that I am not a complete woman. To me, there exists no complete woman or a complete man. In every man, there is a woman and in every woman a man.

During my teen years as a gender nonconforming student, I have faced severe verbal abuse, bullying, harassment and physical abuse in schools. In a country where woman are worshiped as goddessesĆ¢€”the nation itself is worshiped as Bharat MathaĆ¢€”I am shaken to know that India is the most dangerous place in the world to be born a girl. I, and people like me, who transitioned with so much obstacles to live in our true identities, to live as women, are continuously abused, discriminated and socially rejected for more than a century remaining marginalised, invisible and unwanted.

Born as the only biological male child of a middle class Hindu family, I was given the best education possible by my parents. I consider that as the biggest gift and the most precious asset my parents had given me. My education and the drive I had in me for more knowledge, a better life, and my pursuit for self searching, gave me the courage to endure the shame and pain which the world fiercely threw at me. The mother plays an important role in designing the entire destiny of a child. Transgender and gender non conforming children are chased away from their homes and face end up being the most under privileged and highly exploited. If every parent accept their gender nonconforming child and give them the love, protection and a good education, you will not see so many transgender women begging on the streets during the day and standing at street corners as sex workers at night.

Are women aware of their power, are women aware of their being? Do they appreciate their self worth? It took years of struggle for me to be recognised as a woman in the society. Once recognised, I now struggle for a respectable and an equal place in the society. Because I choose to be a woman, I cannot be a victim of exploitation in the name of tradition and culture, or in the masks of family and social acceptance. Because I choose to be a woman, I cannot accept the iron cuffs of patriarchy and sub-human treatment. For me, and dozens of transgender women like me, the freedom and liberty to live a life that we choose is more important than socially being accepted as women and then exploited.

For me, being a woman is a celebration of my freedom, my beauty and my femininity. Before accepting me as a woman, please first accept me as a human being who has the right and the liberty to live a life that I want to, that I choose to. A society that is ashamed of the new born baby girl will never flourish to be a healthy society. Celebrating our women symbolises celebration of equality and human rights, and acknowledgment of the uniqueness that exists in all of us.
A society that celebrates its women will celebrate womanhood in acknowledging, accepting, and being inclusive in diversity in gender and in sexuality.
Freedom to be a woman and to rejoice my identity is my right.

A guest column By Kalki Subramaniam | March 07, 2016, The Week,