Meet Akkai: The Trans Woman Whose Story Obama Wants You To Know

Dr Akkai Padmashali is a famed transgender rights activist from Karnataka and known for her bold and passionate voice in campaigning against Section 377, which criminalizes sexual minorities in India.

When Obama was recently in India, Akkai was present at the Obama Foundation Townhall to interact with the former President, where she raised a question about how she should raise her voice against this criminalization. She also asked him how the LGBTQ community should go about their movement since all they wanted was love and acceptance.

Obama, being the great leader he is, went on to answer this passionately without commenting on the legislature of the country. He did not refrain from telling her how to find her voice and to ensure that their voices are heard by the authorities. He stressed on the importance of sharing and spreading her experiences and her story. He went on to give examples of how the Black community have also faced similar situations in the past, and how art forms can also play a big role in changing the outlook of the majority towards such sensitive issues.

Akkai’s story is one filled with struggle. Having been forced to work as a sex worker, having to resort to begging to stay alive, Akkai was rejected by all layers of society because of her gender and sexuality. She highlights that all the LGBTQ community wants is peace and harmony. Akkai raises a very important question to the Indian government when she questions Section 377 and how ‘legal’ it truly is.

More power to you Akkai, we the people of India are with you!

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