On 8th January, Congress made history by appointing transgender Apsara Reddy as national general secretary of its women’s wing, the Mahila Congress making her the first transgender office-bearer in their 134 old party.
“I will meet with a cross section of women to address the issues pertaining to their rights. This election, I will campaign vociferously against the fascist BJP,” she said about her immediate plans. She also said after accepting her position in Congress party “All my life, transgender women have been told that you’ll never be able to make it in your life. To be welcomed into one of India’s largest and oldest national parties is hugely emotional for me.”
Apsara thanked Rahul Gandhi for entrusting her with this responsibility, she said that she will work with each state’s wing in Mahila Congress across the country and aspire for the empowerment of women.
“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’s commitment to the 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”, following her appointment Apsara said.
Apsara was with BJP earlier. She quit the party within a month quoting BJP’s ‘regressiveness’ when she said that, “BJP is regressive and has no place for free-thinking individuals”, the activist complained that she was just a “photo opportunity” for the party on Women’s day. She also raised the transgender bill issue, “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. Most importantly political recognition.”
After quitting the BJP she joined AIADMK under late Tamil Nadu’s C.M Jayalalithaa and then became the party’s national spokesperson in 2016. After Jayalalithaa’s death, she moved to Sasikala camp. She also alleged that “The AIADMK government is playing into BJP hands”.
Apsara is probably the only trans person to head various newspaper across the world. She did her graduation and post graduation in journalism from Monash University and the City University, London. She has worked with Deccan Chronicle, New Indian Express, BBC World Service, The Hindu, and Commonwealth Secretariat in London. Apsara has written columns on topics related to celebrity lifestyle, politics, consumerism, education etc. She has interviewed Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan, A.R Rehman, Hollywood star Nicholas Cage, F1 racer Michael Schumacher and Ex-Prime Minister of Australia John Howard. For a brief period of time, she has also worked with UNICEF to launch a health campaign across Tamil Nadu.