Guest Info

Rudrani Chhetri is a proud member of the transgender community and has proven her mettle as an actor, activist, model and entrepreneur. She developed the first Transexual modelling agency called Bold, in 2015, in India, which is bringing a new paradigm shift in how fashion labels work. She has supported the livelihoods of the people of her community living across the entire length of Delhi. She was also a participant in the Rainbow Film Festival.

About the Show

Rudrani Chhetri, a proud member of the transgender community, engages in a much-needed conversation with Chief Explorer Rajan Nazran to explore the vast terrains of sexuality, identity and the notion of Indianness. 

She has never felt incomplete or less than a cis woman or a man. The belief that human beings are social and that there is no alternative to having conversations to understand each other has driven her to make things right for herself and the people who might need her guidance. Being ostracised by your community, beaten and judged, all for self-determining your gender, is something she knows all too well.

The deeply rooted social stigma and prejudices that the transgender group face from members of society still exist, despite India’s declaration that they are the Third Gender under the constitution and should not be discriminated against. Yet many are still denied basic rights and forced into poverty. It is estimated that a whopping 74% of transgender persons have had to leave their homes and families because of their identity and have faced violence and abuse.

Rudrani Chhetri likes to identify herself as a trans woman and finds it crucial to complete her identity, as her conversion struggles are part of her. This is different for everyone at an individual level regarding what label they are comfortable with. Others might prefer to be called a woman, while Rudrani Chhetri does not mind being called either. She is also part of the Hijra community and exists among many aspects to form her identity. 

She is unapologetically vocal about how there are certain restrictions imposed on cis women which she does not have to tolerate but at the same time, she is not able to respond to obscene situations as freely as a hetero-sexual woman can. The gaze follows her everywhere, and she is undoubtedly uncomfortable with it, whether the attention might be negative or positive. Then random questions pop up like, “You can speak English?” which never fails to infuriate her. She was constantly discriminated against in countless ways. However, she still holds her Indianness close to her heart. She declares that she finds acceptance here as opposed to Western societies and that the British developed the scorn in India. 

Today, Rudrani is a symbol of inclusivity for many, and she shares some unique insights into what identity means to her and this notion of Indianness that we should be celebrating. This episode is quite an enlightening one, do not miss it!

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.
Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

Introduction music: (Sound Title) – by Steven F Allen

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