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03 November 2014

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi लक्ष्मी नारायण त्रिपाठी (1979–) dancer, activist.

Laxmi was born in Thane, Maharashtra, the eldest child of seven of Brahmins from Uttar Pradesh. Laxmi was a sickly child suffering from double pneumonia, typhoid and asthma, was taunted at school for being feminine, and was sexually abused by a relative.

By the second standard Tripathi was fascinated by the Bharatanatyam dance, its costumes, jewellery and make-up. She also became with a hijra artist, Shabina Frances. Unusually her family supported her study of dance and theatre, and Laxmi took an arts degree at Mumbai's Mithibai College and a post-graduate degree in Bharatnatyam. She drew comments on the street:
"I was comfortable with myself; so what others said never bothered me. That was the time when I was a queen, an epitome of sexuality, and I had many boyfriends. All this while I found I was very feminine".
She became a celebrated dancer, and also worked for LGBT causes:
"There were many hijras who died on my lap in the hospital because they didn't get medical attention on time".
In 2002 Laxmi became a founding member of the Dai Welfare Society, which works for hijra and other trans persons. In 2008 Tripathi was voted to represent the Asia Pacific Sex Workers Network and in this capacity spoke at the UN Civil Society Task Force at the UN General Assembly. In 2010 she launched the Indian Super Queen beauty pageant.

Laxmi has starred in several television shows including the reality show Bigg Boss, and in three documentary films. She has adopted two children.

She was one of those who had petitioned for India to recognize a third gender, which was achieved in April 2014 by the Supreme Court, which was in time to permit trans persons to vote in the 2014 national elections. The court also ordered that employment and education quotas be established for trans as for other minorities.


Laxmi is the name of the goddess of beauty and fortune who is also the wife of Vishnu.  However the name was decided by the Vaishnavist family before Laxmi was born and thus is not a name taken at transition.

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