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Transgender Model to Be Featured in Top Indian Fashion Show for First Time!!!
Jointly organized by India’s top cosmetics company and IMG Reliance, a chapter of leading global entertainment firm IMG Worldwide, the twice-yearly event is a showcase for the Indian fashion industry, and this move signals broader mainstream inclusion for transgender persons in a region still relatively new to LGBT acceptance.
In a first, a transgender model will walk the runway during Mumbai’s Lakmé Fashion Week next month. Anjali Lama, 32, is a Nepalese model who had initially tried out for the show last year. This year, she will be included in the lineups for various top designers in shows running from February 1 to 5.
Anjali born in a small village in Nepal, the 32-year-old model was shunned by her family (except for her mother) when she came out as a transgender. Due to the help provided by Blue Diamond Society, an LGBT rights organization, she was not only able to understand her identity as a transgender woman but she also received the support system she needed. The idea of become a model was born when she received positive reactions after being featured in Voice of Women, a national magazine in Nepal and underwent training to become a model.
Anjali herself appreciates the contemporary cultural shift towards wider tolerance that have come since the beginning of her journey: “It wasn’t easy for me in the early days when there was so much rejection and discrimination . . . Now I am getting an overwhelming response from the fashion industry after being selected, and other transgender people tell me they are proud of me.” Anjali Lama joined a modeling academy in Kathmandu, but did not come out to her family. When someone from her village found out Lama was living as a transgender woman and told her family, they cut ties with her and told her that she had let them down. “My mother, to some extent, was more accepting but there really wasn’t much awareness then. There is more awareness and acceptance now in Nepal, and that has helped more people like me to come out,” she said.
Anjali was featured in many popular magazines and recently a documentary about her life was playing in Kathmandu’s Kumari cinemas. The documentary was called: “Anjali: living in someone else’s skin” and directed by Mohan Rai.
Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled in 2007 in favor of gender identity selection by its citizens, and in 2015 the country began issuing passports that permitted a third gender in line with its new constitution. For its part, India allots transgender identity among its official quotas in hiring and elsewhere, while the country’s iconic Bollywood scene has recently highlighted transgender performers.
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Lesley Middleton, owner of PINK IN OUR LIVES