Actress Renuka Shahane, best known for her role in the Bollywood film Hum Apke Hai Kaun, had a powerful message of transgender inclusion through her tweet on Women's Day this year.
On March 8, Renuka Shahane tweeted: "Happy Women's Day to all those who identify as a woman."
Happy Women's Day to all those who identify as women ❤♀️❤ Love and respect ❤♀️❤ pic.twitter.com/FDc5ECSlDs— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) March 8, 2021
That powerful message showed solidarity with all who identified as women, while emphasising and including trans women in the Women's Day narrative. The actress' tweet was significant as there have been attempts made to exclude trans women in some feminist narratiives. These have been criticised by LGBTQI activists for being transphobic.
Nigerian writer of We Should All Be A Feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had in 2017 argued that trans women aren't "real" women, saying that trans women aren't actually women but just "transwomen".
One of the most popular writers today and the writer of the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling, has invited criticism for her transphobic comments. Among many other transphobic statements in the past, Rowling's use of the phrase "people who menstruate", was criticised.
"People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpun? Woomud?” she tweeted. Rowling has also backed transphobia on social media platforms.
Renuka Shahane's message of acceptance of trans identities proves once again why she is such a strong ally of the LGBTQI community in India.
The actress, whose directorial debut Tribhanga recently released on Netflix, has previously featured in two two short films on LGBTQI issues made by upcoming filmmakers, including Silent Ties by Palash Dutta. She is also on the advisory board of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia's biggest LGBTQI+ Film Festival.
Following, the historical Supreme Court of India judgment decriminalising consensual same sex relations in 2018, Renuka Shahane had tweeted: "Historic judgement by SC. Finally that awful, regressive Section 377 is scrapped. Thanks to the activists who've fought tirelessly for LGBT rights. Big hug & lots of love to all my LGBT friends! Say it with PRIDE India, it is time to love all, embrace all & respect all".
Historic judgement by SC. Finally that awful, regressive #section377 is scrapped. Thanks to the activists who've fought tirelessly for LGBT rights. Big hug & lots of love to all my LGBT friends!❤Say it with PRIDE India, it is time to love all, embrace all & respect all ????????????????— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) September 6, 2018