Breaking the stereotypes that surround their community, Mitr Turst, a Delhi-based LGBT organisation is trying to launch India’s first transgender modelling agency.
The agency would be run by transgender and for the transgender people. Rudrani Chettri, the founder of the organisation
, calls the initiative as ‘the diagloue between the people, government and the transgender community.’ She told TopYaps:
“It is an experiment done by our community to prove that we, transgender, can also work in other profession such as modelling. We have been often projected as beggars or sex workers. Through the modelling agency, we wish to change that.”
The idea came after big fashion houses refused to hire them as models. “They told us their clients were still not ready,” said Chettri.
To turn their dream into reality, the organisation has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money.
Struggling through financial crunch, Chettri explains, “We haven’t received funds for our organisation for the last nine months. We haven’t even paid salary to our staff. So, we need support to open the agency.” In the first phase that is to begin from February 6, 2015, the agency would start with auditions in the capital. Through WhatsApp and pamphlets, they would send message about the same to the community.
What else? They are even breaking the rules of modelling. They are not after perfect figure, youngsters or fair skin.
“ For us, age is no barrier. Anyone who feels they can be a good model, can come for the audition. We don’t have any specific criteria for models. We want to bring out individual identities of transgender people.”
A total of five models would be selected who will have a portfolio shoot by an eminent fashion photographer.
The campaign is also supported by fashion stylist, Rishi Raj, who is vocal about the LGBT rights.
In 2014, the Supreme Court passed a law that recognized transgender as ‘third gender’ and entitled them to equal rights and protection under the law.
But Chettri reveals that things have not changed much. “We do have a right now, according to the law. But, in reality, people poke fun at us, we are humiliated at various public places. So, there is a still long way to go.”
In 2015, world’s first transgender modelling agency was launched in Los Angeles. It is exclusively for transgender men and women which was opened by Thailand-based agency Apple Model Management. Though the Indian agency would be a symbol for change, Chettri is bit spektical. She said:
“I am aware about my country’s culture and hence, I am not accepting any extreme change. We just want that our efforts should be appreciated.”