It is not easy to be a member of the LBGT community in India but Akkai Padmashali has successfully represented her community and also managed to raise awareness on the discrimination faced by its members.
For her inspiring efforts, Padmashali, 30, has been awarded the Rajyotsava Award for social service by the Karnataka government.
Padmashali has been working very hard to change people's perception towards transgenders in the society since her late teens.
Padmashali, who suffered from sexual violence and was forced into sex work to support herself, turned her life around at 19 when she joined local NGO Sangma to help the transgender community.
Padmashali now runs Ondede, an organisation to create awareness about sexuality, sexual diversity and the right to choose one's sexual orientation. She was also among the first transgenders to be issued a drivers licence.
"We all know from ancient age period that sexual minorities have been rejected from all the sections of society - but today the Karnataka government, the second largest civil award has been recognized and given to me. I think some way it is a warm welcoming. It's a strong movement ... struggle ...we are struggling for identity ...(sic)" Padmashali told NDTV.
A change in attitude?
The step taken by the state government is significant at times when the legal position of homosexuality in India is disappointing.
The state's Kannada and Culture minister, Umashree, reportedly said, "This is the first year I think in India we have given the award to transgenders who are fighting for to come in the mainstream and lead a good life."