10 January 2006

Asian transgender woman livens up marriages

Asian weddings are big business in Britain, much as they are in any country amongst the middle and upper classes. And no such wedding would be complete without entertainment of one kind or another. One particular act, which is becoming more and more popular, is dancing queen Kiran Rani, and what makes this particular dancing queen stand out, is that under the makeup and the glamorous frocks, is a 24-year-old British Asian man, born and raised partly in Leeds and partly in Lahore by a Pakistani Muslim father and a Christian mother.

Even as a child Rani felt different. As he/she explained in an interview with the Eastern Eye newspaper: "Ever since I was little, I’ve been into fashion and hair and when my family watched a film, I’d be in a corner copying the actions and dance moves of divas like Rekha and Meena Kumari. I was fascinated by them".

Rani took up dancing professionally some three years ago and specialises in a dance form called mujra, which was performed by courtesans in the Mughal era. It’s an act that is now in great demand, not only at weddings, but also at private parties.

But, as you may imagine, such a way of life cannot be easy, as Rani explained: "I don’t deny it’s been a big struggle, more so in Britain than it would have been in Pakistan where it’s common to see people like me walking around and dancing at weddings. The more educated or open- minded Asians accept who I am and what I do but it’s mainly the younger generation that will dish out negative comments or insults. For example, sometimes if I walk past a group of Asian men, they will call me names like khusra or hijra. But I have learned to shrug such things off and I know what kind of positive response I get when I walk through the centre of Leeds or when I perform, people are just hypnotised by me".

British Asian male dancers are a rare breed; British Asian male dancers who dress and perform as women rarer still. Kiran Rani has had a difficult life and has worked very hard to convince people that he/she is a serious artist determined to keep an old tradition alive. With a certain amount of understanding and tolerance within the British Asian community, this person who is physically a male but psychologically a female should be able to have a successful career and a happy life.

Kiran Rani's Website

Source: Tribune India


  1. Once again....all I can say is I feel very very proud...may be she had a level of edge by virtue of living in UK (a country where you actually have freedom of expression). In India, we have Laxmi (of Mumbai) to talk about. Share your thoughts too, Malika.


  2. Hey Angela, Nice to hear from you again and thanks for reading my blog.
    Please tell me more about you.
    Do write to me about you on my email.


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