Kalki Subramaniam is an Indian transgender activist, artist, poet, actor and inspirational speaker. Kalki is the founder of Sahodari Foundation, an organization which works for the social, political and economic empowerment of Transgender people in India.
She is known for her relentless and fierce activism for establishing social justice and equality for transgender people in India. She was one of the prominent Indian activists advocating and lobbying behind the recognition of legal rights for transgender people by the Supreme court of India in 2014. Kalki has received several awards for her contribution towards transgender rights. Kalki was one of the major campaigners behind the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict legalizing transgender identities in India.
She has spoken in numerous institutions in India including Jindal Global School of Law, IIT Madras, IIT Lucknow and Gauhati University. She has spoken to more than a million students in the last decade and has sensitized them on gender diversity.
Her collection of poetry in Tamil titled ‘Kuri Aruthean’ was published in 2014. It has been hailed as an outstanding work of poetry.
Kalki’s debut in Indian film world happened with ‘Narthaki’, an offbeat film about the life journey of a transsexual woman – her quest for happiness, love and finding her identity and true happiness. She became the first transsexual actor in India to do a lead role in a major motion picture.
She received numerous awards for social work, film performances and her literary contributions. On March 8th 2015, women’s day, Facebook chose Kalki as one of the 12 inspiring women of the world who use Facebook as a community development platform for empowerment. In 2016, Kalki was nominated by L’Oreal Paris India as the ‘Woman of Worth’ under the arts category.
As an artist, Kalki’s paintings speak about diversity of humans and nature. She did her debut art show ‘Piece by piece’ in June 2016 at Alliance de Françoise, Trivandrum and later in did shows in Coimbatore and Bangalore. She continues to paint with passion and has been touring with her artworks that speak about love and diversity.
Through Sahodari Foundation, she has initiated the Trans/hearts project with a mission to reach out to 10,000 transgender people to encourage and train them to paint their untold stories on canvas.
In February 2017, Kalki Subramaniam was invited by the Harvard University to speak at the India Conference; she received a standing ovation during her speech. She also spoke at University of California during her U.S Visit.
In June 2017, Kalki was awarded the honorary doctorate by International Tamil University USA in Madurai.
In 2018, Kalki was invited by Global Affairs, Canada to participate at the Global Conference on lgbt human rights and Inclusive development which happened in Vancouver, Canada. She was also felicitated by Canada Tamil Sangam in Toronto.