By Shikha Sreenivas
Lakme Fashion Week which takes place in February in Mumbai is challenging the traditional gender binary in fashion, by featuring models Petr Nikita and Anjali Lama. Petr Nikita is a Czech model who identifies as both sexes. Anjali Lama is a Nepali woman, who was born a man. Their selection could spell inclusivity and breaking of gender stereotypes on the Indian ramp in the future.
Petr told Huffington Post India that fashion helped them define who they are, and the travel opportunities they get through being a model allowed them to “spread the word about gender neutrality”.
Anjali was born in Nuwakot in Nepal, as a boy named Nabin Wali. According to this interview with iDiva, she never felt like she fit her prescribed gender role. She always felt more connected with her mother and female peers, which was a odd thing for a boy in her culture. In 2010, she moved to Kathmandu and had a sex-change operation. Lama is Nepal’s first transgender model.
Initially in her career, Lama says, she faced several rejections on account of being ‘transgender’. She says that transgenders are discriminated everywhere, be it about accommodation or careers, “nothing comes easily for us”. She says that “fashion is conducive to change and is the modern-day vehicle for change”.
After India’s first agency for transgender models, and these two models who are making news across the country for challenging industry prejudices and stereotypes, perhaps this is the beginning of gender neutrality in fashion.