Apsara Reddy, a transgender journalist and activist has been appointed National General secretary of the women’s wing of the Congress, Mahila Congress. She is the first transgender office bearer of the party. The appointment is aimed at sending the message of inclusivity beyond the set social norms. Apsara was inducted into the party in the presence of Rahul and Lok Sabha MP and AIMC president Sushmita Dev on Tuesday.
As a transgender woman, Apsara has been involved in social activism since her college days and has also taken up high-profile cases of child rape in Tamil Nadu. Her active voice on social issues and her brand of journalism initially saw her joining the BJP after meeting party chief Amit Shah. However, Apsara left the BJP within a month, claiming that the party was “regressive and has no place for free-thinking individuals.”In her new role, Apsara aims to work towards women’s economic empowerment, fighting against social injustices, helping women find their human rights and help contribute to the Congress party’s manifesto with women-centric policies.”Over 40 per cent 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,” she said.
“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,” she noted. With regards to the Transgender Bill, Apsara said the need of the hour for the community is to bridge the inequality meted out to them. “What the community truly needs is education and equal opportunity. This is a good starting point for mainstreaming,” she added. Laying out her plans as the newly-appointed general secretary of AIMC, Apsara said, “I will meet a cross-section of women to address issues pertaining to their rights. This coming election I will campaign vociferously against the fascist BJP that drives a coloured agenda that reduces people to what they eat, how they pray and how they love.”
Hailing the appointment as a positive step towards promoting inclusivity, compassion and equality, Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi too welcomed Apsara Reddy in a Twitter post. Sushmita Dev, another Congress leader who is quite vocal about women’s issues said Apsara Reddy’s dynamic personality will be a great asset for the party. Apsara Reddy is a well-known journalist and activist. A graduate in Journalism and MA in broadcasting, Apsara has worked with the BBC World service, The Hindu, New Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle. She has also spoken on some high-profile platforms such as the European Parliament Session in Madrid. In 2016, she had joined All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).