Be it India or anywhere else in the world, acceptance of gender fluidity has often eluded the transgender community. With societal pressures like these, Anjali Lama, a transgender model walking down the catwalk in a fitted cream dress for Gen Next at Lakme Fashion Week 2017 was a big achievement. Last year, India came up with a modelling agency for transgenders – a crowdfunding campaign started on the BitGiving online platform to finance the endeavour – but Lama is the first transgender woman to model at one of the top events on India’s fashion calendar.
Looks like good times are ahead for her as the model has landed on the cover of leading fashion magazine ELLE India. The February digital issue shows Lama looking all classy and polished in a blue flowy outfit with unusual eye make-up. To drive the message home, the magazine has the message on the cover, “#UNGENDER, Join a global movement, Break free of the binary, Be who you want to be.”
The magazine addresses issues like how to date an asexual and other gender bending theories that society really needs to start breaking free from. Lama’s story is equally inspiring. According to AP, growing up as the fifth son in a poor farming family in Nepal, the model didn’t dream early in life to be a fashion model. First was the painful struggle to accept that he felt deeply female. “I knew even as a child that I didn’t like being a boy, wearing those clothes. I began to feel really confused and depressed. I kept asking myself `I’m a boy, so why do I feel this way? I tried to change but it was mental torture.”
It was a chance encounter with transgender women that turned Lama’s life around. In 2005 she came out to her friends and family as transgender. “It was like a rebirth for me. I remember thinking, `Oh my God, I’m not alone in this world. There are others like me,’ she said.