“At 12, I wanted to die.”
Jagadeesh had a confusing childhood. He didn’t fit in. Neither in society nor in his own body.
His parents would be angry each time he would wear his sister’s clothes or play with girls. They went from doctors to traditional healers all in the hopes of curing him of this ‘disease’.
He felt confused and lonely; he wanted to die. Twice he tried to kill himself when he was just 12 years old. But he didn’t die. Instead, he found solace talking to the outcasts, amid the eunuchs near his house in Bengaluru.
Four years later, Jagadeesh came out to his brother. He wanted to be a girl, but his parents wouldn’t allow it. Life had just begun to throw hurdles at him.
But he knew his destiny. And it wasn’t going to be easy. Sadly, he spent four years offering himself to men for money in a park just so that he could save up for a surgery, to become who he really was all this time: a woman.
“My parents thought I was an office assistant at a private company.”
It still brings back tears and horrible flashbacks.
But this is no longer the story of Jagadeesh. This is now the story of Akkai Padmashali, a strong woman who overcame every obstacle, who now stands up for those like her who are afraid and alone.
“Today, I am representing the many people who are scared to come forward and fighting for transgender rights and justice.”
Akkai went on to establish Onedede, an organisation that fights for the outliers like her, to bring awareness about sexuality, sexual diversity and the right to choose one’s sexual orientation. And the journey has been hard.
It has already been four years since India acknowledged the third gender and Akkai was the first trans woman to have received her driving license as a woman. Yes, India is advancing, but that doesn’t mean that Akkai has been able to shrug off the stigma.
“Being a transgender is not easy. People laugh at you, discriminate against you. You don’t have access to buses, public toilets, office spaces. But things are changing now.”
In January, Akkai became the first transgender to have legally registered her marriage in Karnataka. Her husband, Vasudev, is also an LGBTQ activist.
But even after more than seven years of living together, after which they decided to get married, they haven’t been able to find a home.
“My fight is not over. I was told to vacate multiple houses because of my identity. I am struggling to purchase a place I can call home.”
She would love to be able to buy a house in her own village in Netenahalli in Karnataka. But she only has time till April 20.
“We have managed to collect ₹7 lakhs with the help of friends and family, but today, we need your love and unconditional support. I need ₹15 lakhs, and you can make this a possibility for me!”
He wasn’t accepted as Jagadeesh and there is still a long way to go before she is accepted as Akkai. And the least we can do is help Akkai and Vasudev in their quest.
Donate today. We are all humans and we know how hard it can be to fit in, to find love and to be ourselves.