Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam is a celebrated Indian transgender activist and author of the book ‘We are not the Others: Reflections of a Transgender Artist’. She is also an entrepreneur, poet, actor and inspirational speaker. Kalki is the founder of Sahodari Foundation, an organization which works for Indian transgender population through its powerful and innovative art projects. Through her thoughts, actions and never-say-die attitude to life she has championed transgender rights. She was one of the prominent activists who lobbied for the recognition of transgender people and was one among the activists responsible in the milestone victory in 2014 when the Supreme court of India finally recognized the transgender community’s civil rights. Kalki has received several awards for her contribution towards transgender rights. 

Her collection of poetry in Tamil titled ‘Kuri Aruthean’ was published in 2014. It has been hailed as an outstanding work of queer Tamil poetry. Kalki’s debut in Indian film world happened with ‘Narthaki’, an offbeat film about the life journey of a transsexual woman – her quest for happiness, love and finding her true identity and true happiness. She became the first transgender actor in India to do a lead role in a major motion picture.


On March 8th, 2015, Facebook chose Kalki as one of the 12 inspiring women of the world who use Facebook as a community development platform for empowerment. In 2016, Kalki was nominated by L’Oreal Paris India as the ‘Woman of Worth’ under the arts category.


Through Sahodari Foundation, she has initiated the powerful RedWall project which is a community art project with participation from more than five hundred transgender and non-binary people across India who are victims of sexual and physical abuse due to transgender expressions. The untold stories of the voiceless transgender and non binary people are documented with a red palm impression of the victim themselves and exhibited across universities, colleges, education institutions, seminars and other public spaces. Kalki performs her poetry in these events.


In February 2017, Kalki Subramaniam was invited by the Harvard University to speak at the India Conference where she received a standing ovation for her speech. She also spoke at University of California during her U.S Visit. In June 2017, Kalki was awarded the honorary doctorate by International Tamil University USA in Madurai. In 2018, Kalki was invited by Ministry of Global Affairs, Canada to participate at the Global Conference on lgbt human rights and Inclusive development which happened in Vancouver, Canada. She was also felicitated by Canada Tamil Sangam in Toronto. She was honored by MG Motors as one of the finest changemakers of India. In November 2018, she was invited by Schwules Museum, Germany to present her poetry, art and activism to special audience. In June 2019, she was invited by Soundstone Artist Hannes Fessmann in Germany and by TransAmsterdam organisation, Netherlands. Her art exhibition titled ‘Maya by Kalki’ was opened at The Manor Hotel in Amsterdam. Kalki was also conferred the International Ambassador for TransAmsterdam organisation.

The Society for Culture & Environment will hold the fourth edition of 'Heartland Stories — Bhopal Literature and Art Festival 2022 as a physical cum virtual event, between 25-27th March 2022.

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