Celina Jaitley is so outraged that her friend, transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, was banned from the Bombay Gymkhana that she has launched a twitter war against the organisation. “Laxmi’s democratic rights and dignity as a human have been humiliated,” she says, “They have violated her right to equality and freedom. These people need to know that for a society to be truly progressive, we need to embrace everyone and not discriminate on the basis of sex, or anything else.”
The Bombay Gymkhana, private club and sports grounds, is one of the most prestigious and absurd remnants of the British Raj. Founded in 1875, it still likes to think of itself as a gentleman’s club. Astonishingly, the waiting list for membership runs into years and costs millions of rupees. The Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir is famous for having donated a sum of 1,000 rupees in 1876 towards the building of the clubhouse, and then being banned from entering it as he was an Indian. Women, too, have been systematically discriminated against for over a century – with membership only being allowed to them within the last ten years.
Celina, meanwhile, is looking forward to the movie Thank You. A multi-starrer, it also includes Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. Sonam plays the role of a Sania Mirza-style tennis star in the movie.