Akkai Padmashali
Transgender | Gender Rights Activist
Akkai, a male to female trans-woman and gender activist has over a decade of experience in the developmental sector. Born a male in a middle-class family, she had to discontinue her studies after Grade 10, due to discrimination based on gender. She took to sex work to make ends meet and in 2004 joined Sangama (an organization working on transgender rights), as a part time staff member to educate the sexual minority community members about their rights at cruising areas. She was promoted to the post of Community Mobilizer and then to Field Supervisor. During that time, she also worked on issues concerning “Right to Health” and “Right to Access Condom” and other services. In 2014, she co-founded Ondede (which mean convergence in Kannada), to link the different movements like Child Rights, Women’s Rights and Sexual Minorities Rights through areas of dialogue, research and action on dignity-voice-sexuality with the dream of pursuing her vision for a gender just world. Ondede at present is supported by Radio Active and will soon be registered as an independent entity. In her free time, Akkai practices singing and has recorded Lakshmi stuti - Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma (a Kannada prayer dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi) for the album “Songs of Caravan” and the popular show “Jeeva Diary – Rethinking Perspectives: Queer Issues, Views and Stories” on the life of Uma on Radio Active.