Flamboyant transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is proud of her sexuality and claims to be "a woman who can put all other women to shame."
"Me Hijra Me Laxmi," the new English translation of her autobiography launched at the New Delhi World Book Fair was one book she says she never imagined writing. The book is already in publication in Marathi and Gujarati.
"I was pestered constantly for two years before I agreed to write this. I always felt that the book could never happen," she says.
She was the first transgender person to represent Asia Pacific at the United Nations and has represented her community and India on several international platforms including the World AIDS conference in Toronto. She currently runs Astitva, an organisation for the support and development of sexual minorities.
The autobiography is a narrative of her ordeal of becoming a hijra by choice, and her subsequent journey of fighting against tremendous odds for the recognition of her community.
"The book is about my life. It has everything from the numerous love affairs I have had to finding solace in Mumbai's bars. From mental and physical abuse to finding a life of grace, dignity and fame, it is about Laxmi, a person who recognises herself as a hijra at present proudly," she says.
While most 'hijras' are shown the door by their families, Laxmi expresses inexplicable gratitude to her parents who accepted her with her anomalies.
"I am a hijra and have been accepted by my family. This is rare in a culture where deviant sexuality is enough for parents to disown their offspring," she writes.
"They never stopped me from expressing myself," she says.