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Nikki Bajaj Summits Everest Basecamp

NIkki’s journey as a mountaineer started in Manali where she completed her first summit to the Friendship Mountain Peak.

Nikki Bajaj, a trans-woman from Raipur has completed her summit to the Everest base camp. In doing so, she became one of the few trans-women in India to have achieved the milestone. NIkki’s journey as a mountaineer started in Manali where she completed her first summit to the Friendship Mountain Peak.

In 2020, Nikki’s friend informed her that a group of mountaineers was traveling to Manali and asked her if she wanted to tag along. She said yes and thus began her journey as a mountaineer. One expects a sport like mountaineering to be a discriminatory space due to its association with hyper-masculinity.

However, Nikki says that mountaineering has been relatively more accepting of her. In contrast, she has faced more discrimination in the field of beauty and makeup.

“This one time a salon-owner fired me because I asked for one day leave to go to the Raipur Pride. Clients have refused to take services from me just because I am a transwoman. The Everest base camp summit has been a blessing for me in this regard because it helps me build an identity for myself outside of all this. People now know me as a mountaineer. It feels nice.”

Nikki has big plans for her future. She wants to continue mountaineering alongside her profession as a hairstylist. She aims to be a beacon of hope for people in her community in both fields.

“When I started out I did not have anyone who shared [this] identity with me in my field, to guide me through things. I want to fill that gap eventually for other people.”

This story was about: Community Identities Pride Trans

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Shivangi is a writer, poet, political activist, and a student of English Literature in Delhi. She writes primarily in Hindi and Bhojpuri and occasionally experiments with English and Urdu.
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