Rukshana Kapali, a 24-year-old transgender female, hails from the indigenous Newa community in Nepal.
Growing up in a patriarchal society, she faced challenges in her childhood due to non-conformity with societal norms.
Rukshana is a dedicated human rights activist, with a particular focus on advocating for transgender rights.
Her impactful work and commitment to advocacy have earned her a place in the BBC’s prestigious list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for the year 2023.
Who is Rukshana Kapali?
Rukshana Kapali, a 24-year-old trans woman, hails from the Newa ethnic nation in Nepal. Currently pursuing dual Bachelor’s degrees in Law at Purbanchal University and Linguistics at Tribhuvan University, she aspires to become both a lawyer and a linguist.
Notably, Rukshana serves as the Executive Director at Queer Youth Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for SOGIESC rights.
In her role, Rukshana focuses on policy advocacy and the promotion of SOGIESC rights in Nepal. She actively contributes to the creation of resources addressing these issues, particularly in Nepal Bhasa, Nepali, and English.
Beyond her advocacy work, Rukshana is a passionate supporter of the Nepal Bhasa movement, advocating for its reinstatement as an official language in Nepal. Additionally, she is committed to uplifting her native language, Nepal Bhasa (language).
A self-described language nerd, Rukshana expresses a love for learning new languages, although her active engagement in language learning has been limited due to other commitments.
Her multifaceted pursuits reflect a dedication to legal studies, linguistic endeavours, and advocacy for marginalized communities, making Rukshana a notable figure in the intersection of law, language, and human rights in Nepal.
How old is Rukshana Kapali?
Rukshana Kapali, a trans woman, proudly embraces her 24 years of age. In the Newa society’s unique perspective, reaching 24 is described as “finishing twenty-three years and sitting on the twenty-fourth year.”
Her date of birth is N.S. 1119 Chila 16, equivalent to March 4, 1999, C.E.
However, in adherence to Newa cultural traditions, she celebrates her birthday on the fifth month, Chila’s third moon, within the dark fortnight, following the Lunar Calendar of the Nepala Sambata.
This nuanced approach to age and birthday celebration reflects Rukshana’s connection to and respect for her cultural heritage.
When did Rukshana Kapali start blogging?
Rukshana Kapali embarked on her journey of writing and blogging at the age of 15, a period when she hadn’t anticipated such involvement.
Initially, her focus was on sharing content related to LGBTIQ+ rights in her native language. Intrigued by English and Nepali LGBTIQ+ news portals, she dedicated herself to summarizing their content in Nepal Bhasa.
This early engagement was born out of pure interest, devoid of any long-term vision or deliberate intention.
At 16, a pivotal time marked by her graduation from school (Grade 10 board examination in Nepal), Rukshana experienced a transformative moment.
This was when she publicly came out as a girl and commenced living authentically. Eager to narrate her personal story and share her challenges, she sought to provide a glimpse into her perspective.
Having encountered negative attitudes from others, she aimed to foster an understanding of her journey. Using a WordPress blog as her platform, Rukshana’s inaugural article, recounting her experiences, resonated widely and became widely shared.
This positive response became the catalyst that fueled her passion for writing and blogging, marking the beginning of her impactful journey in the digital space.
Rukshana Kapali- BBC 100 Inspiring and Influential Women of 2023
Transgender human rights activist Rukshana Kapali has earned a spot on the BBC’s prestigious list of 100 inspiring and influential women worldwide for 2023.
The list includes notable figures such as Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, Aitana Bonmatí, Timnit Gebru, Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, and Huda Kattan.
As a member of Nepal’s indigenous Newa nation, Kapali faced challenges in understanding her identity due to a lack of information during her upbringing.
She took the initiative to educate herself on gender and sexuality diversity, coming out as a teenager and using social media to advocate for queer rights.
Currently a third-year law student, Kapali actively contributes to the advancement of legal and constitutional rights for LGBTQ+ individuals in Nepal.
Hailing from the historically marginalized Jugi caste within the Newa ethnicity, she passionately fights against the forced evictions of Jugi people from their traditional homes.
This recognition by the BBC highlights Kapali’s impactful contributions to the field of human rights, specifically focusing on the rights and representation of the LGBTQ+ community in Nepal.