Transgender activist Apsara Reddy was recently appointed as the national general secretary of All India Mahila Congress, making her the first transgender office-bearer in the history of the 134-year-old party.
Apsara was in Bengaluru to speak at the Republic Day celebrations hosted by The LaLit. She told Rakshitha M N about her plans and interests.
You were a journalist earlier. How does it feel being a politician now?
I had been a journalist for almost 16 years. Having worked in radio, print, and television, it was the best choice I ever made. The curiosity about the world is an important characteristic of any politician and I think it is add-on. There is always a journalist in me.
How are you going to work towards the empowerment of women?
The first thing is more budget reallocation for women’s education. If you look at the present ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana’ budget, it tallies up to 5 paise per child while our prime minister spends Rs 64 billion on foreign trips. So, budget reallocation becomes the priority. I will also concentrate on developing women leaders from the district level. Unless we have a groundswell of women leaders in the country, we can’t stand strong.
Tell us about your connection with Karnataka.
I like visiting Karnataka for its climate and weather. Also, the welcoming nature of Bengalureans attracts me.
What do you do in your free time? Tell us about your hobbies and interests.
I do gardening in my free time. I love growing organic vegetables. I have a small kitchen garden at home and like spending time there. Apart from that, I like listening to Carnatic music. I am into devotional songs. I listen to Mahalakshmi Ashtakam, Ashtalakshmi Stotra, Venkatesha Subrabhatam, Saraswati Suprabhatam. I also like shopping for saris. I make it a point to pick up traditional saris from places I visit. Cooking also interests me.
Lastly, have you noticed any significant changes in the way Indians look at transgender people now?
Talking about India, I think the sights, sounds and the visibility of transgender women are growing by leaps and bounds. But when it comes to people embracing them, I think we haven’t reached there yet. Also, the effort should be both ways here; the community should also behave in a way that others understand us.
Clapping hands and abusing people will do nothing but scare them. Finding a middle ground and working together is the best solution.