Trans Indian denied asylum in Switzerland though she does not feel safe in her home country

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Actor and trans rights activist Living Smile Vidya was told that India was a safe country for people like her. Indeed, India is more trans-friendly than any other Asian country. There are beauty pageants for trans women, they are modeling and acting, they have legal rights to marry and some states even fund surgeries for them. But this idealistic picture unfortunately cannot be applied to some poor states, especially in rural areas. She was also told that her education and English skills would allow her to easily find a prestigious job, noting that she also was a famous person. Speaking to Indian news site The News Minute, Smiley said she feared for her life in India, adding that she had been receiving threats in response to her activism since around 2014, so her fame rather works against her than for her. “I’ve been in the public eye for a long time, whether it’s because of my play Color of Trans, or protests like ‘begging for dignity’ and ‘dancing for dignity.’ I’ve made fun of cow worship and anti-beef stance in my work. Perhaps that caught the attention of some people who started giving me threats,” she wrote on Facebook, announcing plans to appeal the decision. She explained to the news site that she is collecting evidence to submit to the Swiss authorities to provide proof of why she needs asylum there, adding that it would be a “human rights violation” if she is not granted permission to stay in the country. Smiley is currently working on a new play called F_femininity, with her shows set to start in Switzerland in October.

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