Dr. Akkai Padmashali

24 JULY | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

GARDENIA, Southern Star, Mysuru

A journey of courage, determination, Dr Akkai Padmashali is a male to female Transwoman, social activist. Her journey is one that inspires many – From begging to participate in sex work for two square meals to being a front runner in fighting for equality of sex minorities; it is a story of faith, courage, and determination.

Born a male in a middle-class family, Padmashali tried to conform to gender she was assigned at birth but by the time she was in her 10th grade she had to drop schooling and discontinue her studies. This is when she started to participate in sex work and connected with the transgender community. She was the first in Karnataka to complete her sex reassignment surgery in 2012 setting an example for the transgender community. Her work with the State and National Legal Services Authority level activism with judiciary was recognised in 2012 when Padmashali was invited by His Excellency, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to attend the swearing in ceremony of the Hon’ble Chief Justice Shri Altamas Kabir, Supreme Court of India, and that was just the beginning. Padmashali founded Ondede, which means “convergence” in Kannada, a human rights organization to advocate the rights of children, women, and sexual minorities. She has conducted many workshops on sexuality and gender at renowned institutions in India and abroad. Her activism in mobilisation and organising skills and as public speaker has gained thousands of member’s attentions in social movement process. Through this she had played a vital and significant role to bring the constitutional judgements in favour of Transgender and Sexual Minorities-LGBTQI community.  She was the only Indian to be invited to the International Bar Association to address the social and legal status of sexual minorities at the international conference held in Tokyo, Japan. In 2015 she was awarded the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, the second highest civilian honour presented by the Karnataka state government for her work in Social Sector becoming the first transgender to be recognised. She was conferred Honorary Doctorate by the Indian Virtual University for Peace and Education, Switzerland, Indian Branch on May 31st, 2016.

She has recorded a song in her melodious voice for the album, Songs of Caravan. Her book “Karunegondu Savaalu” is a must read and the need of the hour for social inclusion for socially excluded transgender community. Dr Akkai Padmashali, the first transgender person in the world to be the Chairperson for Rotary Club Transgender Inclusive and has set an example.