January 9, 2019
Chennai : Rahul Gandhi walks the talk on transgender issue, appoints first transgender woman as the national general secretary of All India Mahila Congress
Hitting the ground running, Apsara Reddy, the first transgender national general secretary of Mahila Congress, lashed out at the BJP and its patronising attitude towards the community she belongs to. Referring to the transgender bill, she told media persons minutes after joining the Congress in the presence of AICC President Rahul Gandhi, Apsara said, “BJP government has this patronizing attitude towards us. We don’t need charity, we need assistance to bridge the inequality meted out to us for far too long. They use words like rehabilitation. What the community truly needs is education and equal opportunity.”
Drawing a distinction, she said political recognition like what the Congress gave proved that Rahul Gandhi viewed the community as a talent pool and a worthy skill-set rather than a fringe group that needs pity. This is a good starting point for mainstreaming.
Apsara Reddy, one of India’s most well-known transgender journalist and activist from Tamil Nadu was appointed National General Secretary, All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) by Rahul Gandhi in the presence of Lok Sabha MP and AIMC President, Sushmita Dev.
As a transgender woman, Apsara has been involved in social activism through her college days and also has taken up high-profile cases of Child Rape and created a media sensation in Tamil Nadu.
Her active voice on social issues and her brand of journalism initially saw her join BJP after meeting Shri Amit Shah. She quit within a month’s time as she says, “BJP is regressive and has no place for free-thinking individuals.” Apsara was offered National Spokesperson’s role by J. Jayalalithaa, Former CM of Tamil Nadu. Apsara continued in that role till she had differences with the faction-ridden AIADMK.
Apsara says, “I come from a background where I was exposed to many prejudices and injustices quite early on. The hypocrisy and discrimination only motivated me to work against injustice. India is being governed by forces that place far more importance on religious identity than the rights and dignity of women. Congress is truly a party that built India and sustained us for generations with good policy and a sensitive and inclusive approach in governance. Rahul Gandhi ji’s commitment to fair representation of women, women-centric manifesto goals and dynamism are truly inspiring and I would be delighted to serve women across the country under his leadership.”
Being a woman, Apsara feels is a blessing and says, “Over 40% of Indian women according to the Human Development Report’s Gender Inequality Index suffer abuse, neglect or violence at the hands of their husbands or family members. Girl child rape is at an all-time high. To protect women from crimes and abuse we need to embolden their voices, frame policies that push for intervention and strengthen our social justice mechanisms.”