Bengaluru Hosts International Transgender Art Festival, A First In India

Aren’t we all aware of the homophobia prevalent around the world, especially in a country like India where identifying with sexuality other than “males” and “females” is considered to be more or less a sin?

While the Prime Minister of one country participated in the Gay Pride Parade, some countries consider having an alternate sexuality to be a disease which needs to be “cured”.

As acceptance is still trying to pave its way in India, Bengaluru is trying to break the gender stereotypes as it hosts its first ever International Transgender Arts Festival from July 29 to July 31 at National Gallery For Modern Art (NGMA), Bengaluru.


The festival is the first of its kind in India, and will be headed by photojournalist Srivatsa Shandilya. It will include artists from the Transgender community from India, Singapore, Malaysia, etc., to showcase their talent in the form of performing arts like dance, music, poem recitation, play or drama, and movie.

“In this unique endeavour to offer equal opportunities to everyone from all walks of life and to help preserve the Indian Performing Arts, the Managing Trustee of International Arts and Cultural Foundation, Shri Shandilya Srivatsa has consciously come up with the International Trans Arts Festival, 2016, dedicated exclusively to Artists from the Transgender community”, International Arts and Culture Foundation mentioned in the announcement they made on their website.

Performances by reputed artists from India, Singapore and Malaysia like Nangai Narthaki Narataj, a well known classical Bharatanatyam dancer as well as the recipient of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Puraskar will perform the dance form, Manjamma Jogathi, Maalika Panikar (Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam) a well known classical Dancer from Singapore will grace the event.


Maalika Panikar performing Bharatanatyam


Manjamma Jogathi

Naanu Avanalla…Avalu directed by B. S. Lingadevaru, based on Vidya’s autobiographical work ‘I am Vidya’ will also be screened in the festival.

The International Transgender Arts Festival is an attempt to break the barriers between gender and art, and to make people understand that art is way above gender.

Even though the Hijra community has been a part of India’s cultural lineage as far as time goes back, the LGBTQA+ community is targeted time and again and is still struggling to obtain their rights.


Recently, Kerala became the first state in India to bring up a welfare policy for the trans community and introduced free Sex Reassignment Surgery through government hospitals.

With this step, Bengaluru has added to our joys. The festival looks promising and we hope that it becomes a huge success!


If you liked reading this, take a look at: Will The Fatwa Legalising Transgender Marriages In Pakistan Improve The Community’s Social Status?



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