‘We are not the Others’ – Transgender painters of Sahodari Foundation come to Bangalore

Here comes February and with it comes love and art. The transgender artists of Sahodari Foundation will participate and showcase their beautiful artworks at an exhibition organised by the foundation in Bangalore International Centre located in Domlur, Bengaluru.

Around 25 artists from the transgender community will showcase their paintings in a show aptly titled with Pride ‘We are not the Others”.

“I am excited about the show” says Santhiya. “This is the first time I am exhibiting my art exhibition in Bangalore for people to see. Coming to Bengaluru excites me because I’ve heard that the cultural scene here is very vibrant. It is a happening city” says Santhiya.

A previous exhibition image

Abstract, surrealism cubism and pop art paintings will be exhibited in the show.

“We are Not the Others” is an exhibition of artworks and paintings of transgender painters of India, the event is curated by transgender artist and activist Kalki Subramaniam (www.kalkisubramaniam.com) who is an artist herself and has trained transgender persons to practice art through the foundation. Acrylic paintings, surrealist paintings and pop art paintings will be on display at the event. Visitors can buy the artworks and support the transgender artists.

Thirty percent of the sale of Kalki Subramaniam’s artworks will benefit to empower the education of young and poor transgender persons.
The opening event inauguration happens on Feb 5th at 6 pm. President of the Inner Wheel Club of Coimbatore Ms. Prema Aiyer will inaugurate the exhibition. The guest of honor of the event is artist and theatre personality Padmashri. Arundathi Nag.

On the same opening day event, on Feb 5th around 7.15 pm, transgender artist and activist Kalki Subramaniam will be performing a performance Art play named ‘Phallus, I Cut. The performance is done as a solo act of body movement with colours and poetry. ‘Phallus, I Cut’ is a poem written by Kalki Subramaniam which is transitioned into a performance Art. The act will challenge the stereotyped gender norms existing about trans and gender queer identities.

Kala makes her art during an art workshop

On Feb 6th and 7th during the mornings and afternoons, there are several workshops available free of cost for the transgender community, workshops include : Introduction to Photography, Abstract painting workshop, Flow painting workshop, motivation workshop, Madhubhani Art workshop and Story Telling Workshop. For details of the workshops please see www.sahodari.org website.

On the same opening day event, on Feb 5th around 7.15 pm, transgender artist and activist Kalki Subramaniam will be performing a performance Art play named ‘Phallus, I Cut. The performance is done as a solo act of body movement with colours and poetry. ‘Phallus, I Cut’ is a poem written by Kalki Subramaniam which is transitioned into a performance Art. The act will challenge the stereotyped gender norms existing about trans and gender queer identities.

For the first time, a virtual reality art exhibition of Kalki’s past pop artworks is also included as a experience using Oculus glasses within the gallery. This exhibition is supported by Shimeraa Visual Studio.

Another highlight of the evening, many artworks and stories exhibited in the gallery space will give the viewer an extended interactive experience through the UniteAR App, adding voice, video and movement to the images on the wall. Viewers can experience this Augmented Reality using their mobile phones when they install UniteAR App.

We use AR and VR technologies to tell our stories of joy and pain, hope and loss, success and faliure.

On Feb 7th at 8 pm, the exhibition closes. The event is sponsored by Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore.

Abinaya, the talented transgender artist gone too soon

Another transgender girl is gone. Gone too soon. Abinaya, a long term friend of me and a participant in many of our Sahodari Foundation workshops and programs died in Chennai under mysterious circumstances. She was a wonderful Bharatnatyam dancer, a talented painter and a henna artist. She was a pre op trans woman who had suffered from epilepsy for so many years. We all have been so supportive, caring and considered her as a family. She has extensively travelled with us for many programs and performances.

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A week ago, she was found dead in her room in Chennai. Blood was found and there was razor blade cuts in her genitals. It looked like suicide. She was also into pill addiction and substance abuse which from which we could never pull her out . We wanted to help her but she would always deny that she was not taking any pills. It is not clear how she died and we are unable to get details from her biological family, We do know that they were supportive to her too. She was in a love affair with a guy which they say might have broken her heart.

One thing is clear though. She was depressed. It could be the broken love, could be the stress of the pandemic situation in Chennai, may be an unfulfillment wish that she always desired, may be she could never be who she wanted to be. She trusted no one and was always keeping a distance though she was close to all. No one imagined she would die Another girl, another friend, another community member is gone. Couldn’t even imagine she would choose to end it all. It was sudden and she never showed any signs. We couldn’t meet her for the past 4 months because of the lockdown.

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The above is her artwork which she painted it in the first Transhearts art workshop. This was her very frist canvas artwork too. She was an enthusiastic participant. She had such flair for art and design. She created this artwork about a transgender person who is pushed to sex work for her basic needs and how in her life as a sexworker how she is exploited by many. The artwork sold at an exhibition and she was so happy to receive the money for her first artwork.

None of us in Chennai and other places could attend her funeral, it became a small ceremony done with a few family members and transgender community who lived closeby her. What now left to us is only her memories. We mourn deeply for our friend and sister who we will never be able to see again. Her voice still lingers me, She always said ‘akka’ or ‘Kalki akka’ and would give her 100 percent in learning.

Abhinaya with the Sahodari team in Kolkatta on our way to Nepal

In the above picture taken in 2011, she is seen happily in a white dress with our team stopping in Kolkatta at an NGO office on our way to Katmandu, Nepal for a performance.

While we work vigorously for an equal, unbiased, accepting world for transgender people, the suicides and deaths make all of us go into depression, despair and takes long time to come to terms.

It was so unfortunate that we could not reachout to her in person during her most difficult and stressful times. The pandemic situation has locked us and we were unable to travel. The entire transgender community was in such difficulty and despair. May be things would have been different if there was no Covid 19. May be she would have chosen life.

She did not die because of the virus itself, but she died because of the stressful and difficult situation which arose because of Covid 19, unable to hold herself to life’s mounting pressures and disappointments.

Our prayers and condolences to her family. Abinaya will always be remembered. We pay our tears from our broken hearts as tribute to you. Rest in peace amazing girl!

Kalki Subramaniam, trans activist and artist.

“Transgender people are more than their gender”- Activist Yvo Manuel Vas Dias of TransAmsterdam

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias, founder and chairman of the Netherlands based organization TransAmsterdam and who is also the ambassador of Sahodari Foundation is interviewed by Sahodari Foundation

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias, founder and chairman of Transamsterdam

An Introduction on Netherlands firebrand transgender rights activist Yvo Manuel Vas Dias

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias is a trans-man, a Buddhist with Jewish background, and a born networker. In 2014, he organized the first TransPride in Amsterdam and started the TransAmsterdam foundation in 2015. By starting TransAmsterdam, he aimed to improve the image of transgender people in the Netherlands, empowering the community through organizing festivals, social events and provide an art-and-culture-platform for transgender people. An example of this is the start of the Trans Art School, which organizes creative and expressive workshops for and by trans people.

In 2016, Yvo was the first trans-man to be nominated for the ‘Amsterdammer of the Year’, and in 2017 he received a declaration from the Amsterdam police force for his continuous work for the trans community, his commitment to combating inequality and for connecting Amsterdam citizens. In 2018, he was named ‘Amsterdam Hero’ by the Amsterdam Heroes Network.

  • What is your feeling about becoming the Ambassador of Sahodari Foundation?

I was extremely honored when Kalki asked me to be an ambassador for the Sahodari Foundation. It is so special to work together with eachother’s organizations, to be able to work for the transgender people, transgender creatives and transgender artists, and to build a bridge between our organizations in the Netherlands and India.

  • TransAmsterdam and Sahodari Foundation both work on transgender community’s creative expressions. Why is artistic expressions so important for the community?

Transgender people are often confronted with prejudice and discrimination, such as unequal treatment when applying for jobs, being addressed incorrectly and inappropriately (being misgendered), and verbal and/or physical violence. The stress related to this unequal treatment is also called minority stress: stress because you belong to a minority. You become suspicious of other people and you no longer dare to step outside, out of fear to be treated negatively.

Minority stress can lead to depression, loneliness and suicide. By using creative expression we can develop more self-confidence as trans-people and community, and feel we stand stronger in society. Empowerment, self-awareness and self-esteem are the keywords to develop our talents, and show that we are more than transgender. Through our art, we show that we are powerful people.

Yvo with Ms.Candy Cotton Candy, the Drag Queen
  • Will there be cultural exchange of art and artists from both sides?

Most definitely. We are planning to set up an art project with our transgender artists and organize exchange with one another. Which themes we will work with, and through what ways, is still a surprise. We will keep you informed of our plans.

  • How did the idea of Open Dag Trans Arts School conceive?

We found out that there is a lot of talent within our trans community that has not yet been discovered. That is why we wanted to start an art project for transgender youth and transgender newcomers. Trans Art School is a nice name for this art project, we thought. During the workshops, transgender people can develop their talents, learn to build confidence, learn to make poems together with other transgender people, self-portraits, photos, films and music. Through art and culture we want to show that transgender people are more than their gender. It also forms a connecting factor between the transgender community and society.

  • Kalki Subramaniam is an international ambassador of TransAmsterdam. Her artworks were showcased in Amsterdam are many venues. How did people received it?

For me and the team, it was an incredible honor that Kalki came all the way to Amsterdam in 2019. Kalki’s artworks were exhibited for 4 days in the magnificent Manor Hotel, and her colorful exhibition was opened in the presence of the respectable chairman and mayor of East-Amsterdam, Maarten Poorter, and the Manor’s General Manager, Nicole Lagas. Visitors were excited and impressed with Kalki’s artwork, and the lucky attendees during the opening were given a personal tour by her. Each piece of art was thoroughly introduced, discussed and given explanation, regarding Kalki’s vision, message and thought process, and evoked make questions among the visitors. In addition to the exhibition, there were several other activities, including a workshop, art talk and meetup.

Many visitors expressed how the various speeches of Kalki had moved them and touched their hearts deeply. It was a wonderful four days to have Kalki with us in Amsterdam, and after she returned to India, TransAmsterdam continued an exhibition of her work during the Amsterdam Pride and Pride East in the ‘Amsterdam East Public Library’. Her work remained exhibited for a full month, open to see for the thousands of daily visitors to the magnificent library, many of them who left positive reactions about Kalki’s work.

  • As the founder of TransAmsterdam, what is your vision for the year 2020?

TransAmsterdam is starting 2020 with a lot of energy to open the Trans Art School. We will offer a great variety of workshops, including dance, music, rap, scat-singing, spoken word, writing, theater, drag, photography, printing, making presentations, and martial arts. All workshops are exclusively for transgender youth and newcomers, and organized and presented by our own transgender community. During the workshops, trans youth and newcomers can develop their talents, learn to make poems together, learn to dance, take photos, make music and much more.

At several events throughout the year, participants can show of their newly learned skills and share their art with the public. Examples of these events are the monthly Trans-and-Friends cafe ‘InClusion’, Transgender Visibility Day, Transgender Flag Day, TransPride and Pride East. This year marks the 5-year anniversary of TransAmsterdam, which we will obviously not let pass by silently, and celebrate loud and proud during our many events of the year with a great diversity of speakers, performances and acts.

  • Who are your favourite artists? Have you done a painting? Can you show us?

I really like the calligraphy artworks of Hassan Massoudy. Hassan is an Iraqi painter and calligrapher, currently living in Paris, and uses beautiful poems in his calligraphy. In the past I have painted a lot, though not in recent years. Unfortunately I can’t show you anything, (laughs Yvo). I now prefer to enjoy the work of other artists.

  • What is your message for the artists of Sahodari Foundation?

It is very important that you, as a transgender artist, follow your heart. Developing your own style through painting, drawing, writing stories, writing poetry, singing, dance, theater, filming, photography or any other form can be very liberating and build self-confidence. Dare to be who you are. Don’t let anyone distract, discriminate or suppress you. Be Trans and Proud!

Thank you Yvo!

Yvo Manuel Vas Dias with Transgender flag

Photographs by Erzsi Molnar and Mick Luna.

Yvo can be contacted at his official Email: info@transamsterdam.nl. Website: https://www.transamsterdam.nl/

This workshop is helping desperate transgender youth become proud young leaders

From fear and dejection to confidence and hope, these young transgender women walked out with pride of who they are.

April 25th, 2019. Sahodari Foundation and Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity began a major step in reaching out to desperate and deserving young transgender people and offering them a very useful and powerful youth leadership workshop which will lead them to empower their lives.

This workshop was conceived by Transgender right activist, artist and inspiring speaker Kalki Subramaniam to identify and groom young transgender persons in India to pursue their dreams of living with dignity and happiness, a life away from the melancholy of begging and sexwork.

Her idea came to a reality when she was invited to speak at Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity for speaking at their weekly meeting to its board members where she met Rotarian Suji Somasudaram of Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity who introduced her to the president of the club Rtn.Phf. Senthil Kumar.K, secretary and Rtn. MD.Vijayakumar.S.

Kalki’s idea of a leadership workshop was immediately accepted as the club had the idea of conducting a RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) for transgender youth. Both the ideas were similar, just the names different.

In a week’s time, it became a reality. All thanks to the Rotary Club which came forward to support 70% of the costs for conducting this event. The rest 30% was funded by Sahodari Foundation.

After quite a successful outreach, all the 20 seats were registered in a week’s time. Participants came from Kerala and Tamilnadu, from places as far as Chennai and Kannur. The program was conceptualised by Kalki and each segment, its activity and the invited speakers was carefully selected to give only the best knowledge and positive messages that will have deep impact on the young trans people.

Kalki’s purpose was to change their mindsets from desperation and fear to hope and confidence. Though she has offered several workshops for the transgender community, this was the first time a full fledged leadership workshop was initiated.

Uncertainty will change

Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity was so open and welcoming in conducting a RYLA for TransYouth. On April 25th 2019 at 9.30 a.m, the workshop was inaugurated with Rtn. K.A Kuriachan as the chief guest of the event. The president of the Club, the secretary and board members were present during the inauguration. Mr.kuriachan told the importance of equality, unity , strength and believing in yourself , he guided transgenders towards confidence, self love and being strong. Special invitees A.Revathi and Olga Aaron were presiding the event. All the participants were excited for the day. Later the Rotarians of the club left wishing the participants their nest wishes.

The workshop started with Kalki’s speech on the purpose of the workshop and  how it is meant to help, support and empower the lives of participants. Though a one day workshop, she wanted to utilise every moment of time to its utmost potential. She requested to participants to be conscious of time and give their focus 100 percent. 

with self introductions of everyone and moved on to two groups, the young persons were grouped as four and were assigned to senior transgender leaders for trusting and opening their hearts to speak out their major personal hurdles and seek out advice from them. The mentorship started with trust building, experience sharing and non judgemental genuine advice seeking.

Hugs of trust

The participants present were seated in circle they were encouraged to speak about their life backgrounds, giving us a picture in which ways each one of them needed help, support and guidance in shaping their future.

Everyone in the room hugged each other in the room to know that they were not alone and provoked unity in the trans community. The guest speaker of the afternoon first session Mr. Ramesh taught the participants on the art of living with clean mental and physical state through yoga and meditation practices. This session was direction to be a part of powerful human change through discipline and yoga practices for better and conscious living.

Transgender activist, writer and theatre personality A.Revathi narrated her painful yet inspiring life story and the oddities she faced and how it made her weak and facing it with courage made her strong and a leader among the community. The next session was followed by Mr.Arun Balakirishna bringing the participants great fun and laughter with some amusing brain and physical games which made the participants bend their body and mind.

Art curator and administrator of Art Houz Bridget Shibu Thomas of Jennys Club of Coimbatore gave a powerful talk about being non judgement about ones own creativity. She listed why self criticism is useless and thow he power of practice brings perfection.

Bridget speaks on the power of creativity

Transgender activist, artist and entrepreneur Kalki Subramaniam was constantly motivating the participants, encouraging them to speak out, address their issues and inspired them to be not think themselves as victim of circumstances anymore but to be strong and change and design our own destinies with right decisions and how to take that right decisions.

Kalki speaks

The last session of the day was conducted by transgender youth and upcoming artist V.Kanchana. She asked the participants to dream their ideas of themselves in five years. They were encouraged to visualise their life and dreams. some of them wants to be a mother, a model, a dancer, a winner , a leader and just like they all have their own ideas of love and life they can be a human resource in the society.

Sara visualises her dream.of becoming a TV presenter

At the conclusion of the workshop Ms. Olga Aaron shared her speech about how it is important for transgender persons to understand the rights and duties and to have dignity. She spoke on the importance of law in the society, to create to a secure place in workplaces including private and government sectors for transpeople. She talked about the human rights and constitutional violations against transgender community that has been in practice since the history of the community of transgender people.

part of the participants

Participating in this workshop is a big step towards a good and healthy life they wish for, they take courage, hope and leadership skills with them. Ms. Kalki Subramaniam, Mr. Kurianchan and Ms. Olga invited the participants and offered them certificates to recognise their participation in the workshop.

That evening they left with pride and lots of friendships to nourish and cherish their lives a very very long time. Bondings and inspirations that will inspire and uplift their lives.

Sahodari Foundation will reach out to more and more trans youth and support them through a series of these workshops in the future. 

Report: Kalki Subramaniam With inputs from Chinasha Notiya

சகோதரி ரோட்டரி இளம் திருநர் தலைமைத்துவ பயிற்சி பட்டறை

சகோதரி அறக்கட்டளை மற்றும் கோவை டெக்ஸ்சிட்டி இணைந்து இளம் திருநர்களுக்கான இரண்டுநாள் பயிற்சிப்பட்டறை நிகழ்வை ஏப்ரல் 25 மற்றும் 26 ஆகிய தேதிகளில் கோவை டெக்ஸ்சிட்டி வளாகத்தில் நடத்துகிறது. 30 வயதுக்குட்பட்ட திருநங்கைகள், திருநம்பிகள், இடைலிங்காயினர், மாற்றுப்பாலினர் கலந்துகொண்டு பயன்பெறலாம்.

இந்த இரண்டு நாள் நிகழ்வில் கீழ்கண்ட பயிற்சிகள் முற்றிலும் கட்டணமில்லாமல் வழங்கப்படுகின்றன.

  • தலைமைத்துவ பயிற்சி
  • தகவல் தொடர்பு பயிற்சி
  • சுய முன்னேற்றப்பயிற்சி
  • உளவியல் ஆலோசனைகள்
  • உத்வேக மனிதர்களின் உரைகள்
  • உளவியல் ஓவிய பயிற்சி
  • விளையாட்டுக்கள்
  • சிறந்த மனிதர்கள் குறித்த சிறு ஆவணப்படங்கள் திரையிடல்

பயிற்சிக்கு கட்டணம் ஏதும் இல்லை. பயிற்சிக்காலத்தில் தங்கும் செலவு, உணவு ஆகியன சகோதரி அறக்கட்டளையே ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளும். உங்கள் பயணச்செலவும் வழங்கப்படும். இரண்டுநாள் பயிற்சிக்கு விண்ணப்பங்கள் வரவேற்கப்படுகின்றன. இரண்டு நாள் பயிற்சி முடிவில் சான்றிதழும் வழங்கப்படும். இந்த நிகழ்வு இளம் தலைவர்களை உருவாக்கும் ஒரு முக்கிய நிகழ்வாகும்.

இந்நிகழ்வில் பங்கேற்று பயனடைய உங்கள் பெயர், பிறந்த தேதி, பணிசெய்யும் இடம் (பணிசெய்வோர் மட்டும்), படிக்கும் கல்வி நிறுவனம் (பயில்வோர் மட்டும் ) சகோதரி அறக்கட்டளை ஈமெயில் முகவரிக்கு ( reachsahodari@gmail.com)விருப்பம் தெரிவிக்கவும். இந்த நிகழ்வில் பங்கேற்க கல்வித்தகுதி ஏதுமில்லை. 30 வயதுக்கு குறைந்தவர்களாக இருக்கவேண்டும்.

மேலும் தகவல்களுக்கு: சகோதரி அறக்கட்டளை +91 7639741916

Announcing India’s first RYLA (Rotary Youth leadership Awards) for TransYouth

Rotary Club of Coimbatore Texcity joins hands with Sahodari Foundation in bringing RYLA for Transgender Youth. It is the first of its kind program from a Rotary Club in India.

RYLA for TransYouth will be a two days training program for young people below 30 years in the following:

  • Building communication and problem-solving skills
  • Discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in your community
  • Learn and be inspired to do good work from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and mentors
  • Unlock your potential to turn motivation into action
  • Have fun and form lasting friendships

(Skills as mentioned in the Rotary International website. )If you are transgender, non binary and intersexperson below 30 years old and have a passion to be a leader and be a change maker, then this training program is for you. Write to reachsahodari@gmail.com to apply with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Age and date of Birth
  • Address
  • Languages known to speak and write
  • Representing organisation (if any).

There will be a selection process and based on the final selections, nomination you will be inducted into the program. There will be a total of 25 participants for the program.

Date: April 25th and 26th 2019

Venue: Texcity Hall, Sungam bypass road, Coimbatore.

NOTE: All costs included travel, stay and food during the two days training program will be taken care and arranged by Sahodari Foundation. You will be able to reimburse your ticket costs. No other additional financial support will be given. If you are interested write to reachsahodari@gmail.com . Last date for applying is 17/04/2019.

அயல்நாட்டில்திருநங்கையர் ஓவியம்! -இந்து தமிழ் கட்டுரை

அயல்நாட்டில் திருநங்கையர் ஓவியம்! -இந்து தமிழ் கட்டுரை 

தி தமிழ் இந்து பத்திரிக்கையில் பத்திரிக்கையாளர் ரவிக்குமார் கட்டுரை 
Published :  22 Oct 2018  11:58 IST

மூகச் செயற்பாட்டாளர், கவிஞர், கல்வியாளர், பேச்சாளர் எனப் பல திறமைகளைக் கொண்ட திருநங்கை கல்கி சுப்ரமணியத்தின் அறிந்திராத இன்னொரு முகம், ஓவியர்.

பள்ளிப் பருவத்தில் பாலின மாறுபாட்டின் காரணமாகத் தன்னைக் கேலியும் கிண்டலும் செய்தவர்களிடமிருந்து தன்னை விடுவித்துக்கொள்ள கல்கி நாடிய இடம் காடு.  “வானுயர்ந்த மரங்கள், பறவைகளின் ஓசை, மூங்கில்களின் உரசல், காய்ந்த இலைச் சருகுகளின் ஓசை போன்றவையெல்லாம் நான் கவிதை எழுத காரணிகளாகின. கூடவே, மனத் திரையில் பதிந்தவை  ஓவியங்களாவும் மாறின” என்கிறார் கல்கி.

வெளிநாட்டில் ஓவியக் கண்காட்சி

கியூபிஸம், ஸ்பான்டேனியஸ், ரியலிஸம் போன்ற பாணிகளில் இவர் வரைந்த ஓவியங்களை அமெரிக்கா, கனடா போன்ற நாடுகளில் காட்சிக்கு வைத்திருக்கிறார். “ஓல்டன்பர்க் பல்கலைக்கழகப் பேராசிரியர் டாக்டர் கிளாடியாவின், அழைப்பையேற்று எனது சமூகச் செயற்பாடுகள், ஓவியப் படைப்புகள், கவிதைகள் குறித்து உரையாற்ற நவம்பரில் ஜெர்மனி செல்கிறேன். ஜெர்மனி மொழியில் எனது இரு கவிதைகள் மொழிபெயர்க்கப்பட்டு வெளியிடப்பட்டுள்ளன.

நான் வரைந்த ஓவியங்களைக் காட்சிப்படுத்தி அவற்றை விற்பதன்மூலம் கிடைக்கும் தொகையில் திருநங்கைகளுக்கான சமூகப் பணிகளைச் செய்துவருகிறேன். ‘சகோதரி’ அமைப்பின் மூலமாக ‘Trans/Hearts’ என்ற திட்டத்தைத் தொடங்கியிருக்கிறேன். இதன்மூலம் என்னிடம் ஓவியப் பயிற்சி எடுத்துக்கொண்ட திருநங்கை மாணவிகளின் ஓவியப் படைப்புகளையும் காட்சிப்படுத்துகிறேன்.

ஓவியப் பயிற்சி

அதில் அவர்களின் படைப்புகள் விற்பனையானால் அந்தத் தொகை முழுவதையும் அவர்களிடமே கொடுக்கிறேன்.  கனடா, ஆஸ்திரேலியா நாடுகளிலிருக்கும் பலரது வீடுகளை என்னுடைய  மாணவிகளின் ஓவியங்கள் அலங்கரிக்கின்றன. தமிழ்நாட்டுத் திருநங்கைகள் மட்டுமல்ல கேரளா, மேற்கு வங்கம் என இந்திய மாநிலங்களில் இருந்தும் உலக அளவில் பல நாடுகளிலும் ஓவியப் பயிற்சி அளிக்க அழைப்பு வருகிறது.

ஆர்வம்மிக்க திருநர்கள் என்னை www.sahodari.org என்ற இணையதளம் வழியாகத் தொடர்புகொள்ளலாம்” என்கிறார் கல்கி.

More on www.transhearts.org

Our TransHearts goes to America!

Our TRANSHEARTS artworks go to America!

Indivisible Conejo LGBTQ+ decided to feature TransHearts from Sahodari Foundation at the very first Conejo Valley Pride in Thousand Oaks Civic Art Plaza in Southern California.

This event was attended by close to 2000 folks. The vibrant colors and exquisite paints from Dr. Kalki Subramaniam and the trans community drew a lot of crowd to the Indivisible Conejo’s booth.

Most of the attendees were amazed at the talent and creativity by the trans community from Southern India. Their heartwarming experience from the “Walls of kindness”project touched the hearts of many who attended. They wrote appreciate notes to show their support and thanking Sahodari for such talent, visibility and creativity.

Our gratitude and thanks to Jon Cummings for sponsoring us the space and our very own sister and Ambassador for Sahodari Foundation Celia Sandhya Daniels and all the coordination for this show.

Visit Transhearts website!

#Transhearts #TransgenderArt #TransgenderPaintings #ArtForChange #ArtForCause #AcrylicArtworks #AcrylicPaintings #QueerArt #ArtForLivlihood #SahodariFoundation #LgbtArt

Teaching gender diversity and gender equality to children

The importance of teaching Indian Children to celebrate and respect Gender Diversity and Gender Equality and how teachers have a major role to play…

If we need to create a safe and respectable future for our young Indians, we need start the right education from schools.

If Indian schools want their students to be the best, they must educate their teachers and teach students to be compassionate, inclusive, open minded and humane with higher values. They must teach the children about gender equality and gender diversity and it must be a priority in Indian schools.  It must be included as a part of the education curriculum.

Traveling around India speaking, advocating for transgender people’s rights and sensitizing thousands of university and college students, I strongly believe, if we want our children to be confident and exercise their rights of equal opportunities fearlessly, if we need to curb the violence against women, if we need to stop rape, if we want our young men to value women and womanhood, then we MUST teach the young Indians about gender diversity and gender equality. I always say in my speeches, ‘A society which respects and values women, will respect and value transgenders and third gender people’. If todays’s youngsters have the right knowledge about genders, they will treat women as equals and not as objects of pleasure and to be used and discarded.

Kalki is welcomed at Mont Fort

It pains me to see transgender people beg for money from shop to shop, in the trains and public utilities. It pains me to see them queuing up to pick up clients for sex work. Majority of them are not qualified enough to go for a better job and have a better livelihood. The livelihood opportunities are very limited, the major reason is that majority of the transgender population are school drop outs. They are unqualified to pursue white collar jobs. The only well paying profession is sex work. So they opt for it. Eventually they are unable to come out of this vicious circle and continue to do this till they are wanted.

If India needs to change, the teachers can be the catalysts of change.  I have an urgency about addressing the desperate situation of teenagers at school who may be gender non conforming. I prioritize it as higher importance.

In their Approach Paper on Education and Employment opportunities & Challenges for Transgender presented to the Ministry of Social Justice, Government of India, Dr Rajesh (Head) and MD Aslam Naved(Research Scholar), Faculty of Social Science from University of Delhi have mentioned the following:

Absence of community sensitive teachers: Influenced by predominant norms and values of society, teachers accused transgender persons. The insensitivities of teachers and staff towards the community have adverse impact on the mainstreaming transgender persons in educational institutes. The teachers and staff do not have adequate knowledge and sensitivities about the community to support the transgender community in making education accessible and mainstream them into the system. The transgender person who is already excluded from the family and society does not find any support with the teachers and therefore forced to discontinue the education in between.”

Today the society looks so cheaply on transgender people who beg and do sex work. Do you know that we, transgenders, too were children once up on a time, we were teased, bullied or even abused at schools, rejected by our parents. Many of us wanted to continue schools and graduate, but those dreams were shattered, left in the vicious lurch of darkness with a very uncertain and insecure future.

If only those children were not bullied at schools, if the teachers had been supportive and caring towards them, if the families had accepted them as they are, they would not be living this lower self esteemed life, this feeling of being an out cast, this feeling of worthlessness would not have been there at all.

We keep creating generations of transgender beggars and sex workers by denying their opportunities. It is time we stopped it, the law and government are gearing towards helping those transgenders by legally recognizing us and passing bills at the houses for those who live in shackles to claim their space for equal opportunities at all spheres like any other citizen of India.

Group photo after the seminar on Gender diversity at Mont Fort International School, 2011

Group photo after the seminar on Gender diversity at Mont Fort International School, 2011

Law can protect us, but how far can a law or a bill change the stigmatizing behavior of the society? Can the government or judiciary bring the change in the mindset of a common man? How long will it take?

Encouraging students to understand Gender Diversity through art

Encouraging students to understand Gender Diversity through art

As a mother who could never be one biologically, and as a citizen of this country, I care to protect our gender non conforming children from stigma and discrimination and ensure a very safe, secure and happy life for them. I do not want to see another generation of beggars and sex workers. To achieve this challenging goal, it is of great importance to teach our children about gender diversity and gender equality. But how do we do it?

Kalki with the faculties and staff of Montfort school - 2011

Kalki with the faculties and staff of Montfort school – 2011

 

We do it in schools. Do we educate students? Yes, but before that we must educate the teachers. We, the people who work for the rights of gender non conforming people and transgenders, must consider the issue as prime importance and work on educating the teachers in schools all across India.

For the past  nine years, I have spoken at a number of academic institutions, colleges and universities across the country on transgender rights. Students and academicians raise all sorts of interesting questions on gender diversity and I answer them all. I think educating the educators is of prime importance presently as they need to completely understand the spectrum and fluidity of gender identity and sexual orientation. This understanding will help them to educate the students in the schools about gender diversity so that the students understand that “It is okay to be different” and will be tolerant and understanding those who are gender non conforming or transgender.

I was invited by a pioneering academic institution the Montfort International School in Yercaud. I visited the school in 2011 and again in 2013 for the a special lecture to the students on gender diversity. Speaking to students about gender diversity is a very challenging task. You need to get into their mindsets, speak in their language with out being offensive and tough. It was challenging for me but not for them. However, I was very successful in make them understand that gender is a spectrum and we must be open-hearted to accept everyone as who they are. They clearly understood my message, threw me all sorts of questions with a very humane and broad perspective. For me, as an activist, it was the richest and the most satisfying experience I had. Children are pure, more balanced and more open compassionate and friendly than most adults I have seen.


The love and affection children show me is something I can’t explain. They make me go breathless with their showers of sweetness. They have no reservations to accept me as I am. They see me as a person, not as a transgender. Isn’t that awesome?
Isn’t that great? If we teach them to be tolerant, compassionate, inclusive, look at things in a humane perspective, accept people as they are, not being bias with gender, caste, religion, race, skin color, economic value or health.

Where do they teach this education? I want to go back to a school where I can unlearn so many things I was taught and learn afresh. If children love me for the person I am, if they are able to see me beyond my ‘transgender’ identity, why is it so hard for adults to do it? Aren’t the adult minds saturated with poison of hatred and prejudice? When these people’s children grow up, these prejudices are slowly passed onto them and their mindsets too become narrow and short.

Children at Montfort International School getting autographs from Kalki Subramaniam

The big rush : Children at Montfort International School getting autographs from Kalki

 

A teacher has a major role to play in teaching boys and girls to respect each other and acknowledge their equal space. Likewise, a teacher has a major role in making the children understand that India is not only a country with many languages, cultures, traditions and religions, India had a history in being tolerant, in accepting the different identities of genders of people and respecting their space in the society.

Kalki speaks at Kilkotagiri school, Nilgiris

It is important to educate the teachers on gender diversity. Followed by Montfort, I had spoken at Vishwasanthi Vidyalaya Matriculation school at Kotagiri and also at the remote Nilgiris place Kil Kotagiri Government higher secondary school. Unlike Montfort, where children from economically sound families study, the students of Kil Kotagiri Government Higher Secondary School come from poor families from the surrounding small villages. Children are children everywhere. I was touched by their keenness in understanding transgender people’s rights and place in the society. The boys came up with so many questions on the social status of the transgender people. They were concerned about bringing solutions to poor transgender people’s problems. That noble thought of their was overwhelming me.

Chennai is the most tolerant city for transgender people in Tamilnadu, yet schools of Chennai had not taken up the issue of transgender to be discussed at school, and have yet to organize sessions on Gender Diversity. State Bank Officers Association School was one of the first schools in Chennai to organise such a sensitizing program on gender diversity for its students. I will be happy if other schools begin to organize such events and invite speakers to educate the students and faculties.

Kalki talks to students at Kil Kotagiri Higher Secondary School

I appeal schools to:
  • Invite gender activists to speak on gender equality.
  • Invite transgender rights activists to speak to students about gender diversity and transgender issues.
  • Organize sensitization and awareness programs for teachers, faculties and school staff on gender diversity and understanding gender non conforming students, handling bullying and being supportive to gender non conforming students.
  • Screen films that teach children on gender diversity and gender equality.
Educatng Gender Diversity: Kalki Subramaniam with the students of SBOA School, Chennai

Dear reader, the Change can be brought only by people like you and me. Let us be the catalysts of change.

Write to me : aurokalki@gmail.com

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