Transgender activist Apsara Reddy became Indian National Congress party’s first transgender office-bearer at the national level this week.
India’s oldest political party on Tuesday (8 January) appointed Reddy to national general secretary of the party’s women’s wing, known as the Mahila Congress.
‘All my life’, Reddy said according to The Quint, ‘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’, she said.
Mahila Congress party president Rahul Gandhi appointed Reddy in the presence of lower house lawmaker Sushmita Dev.
‘I will work with the Congress’ Mahila state units across India towards women’s economic empowerment, fighting against social injustices, helping women find their human rights’ Reddy said in a statement.
Reddy is a well-known trans activist, journalist, and politician in India.
She has previously campaigned for the rights of women, children, and transgender Indians.
What’s more, Gandhi, said the activist’s dynamic personality will be an asset, according to FirstPost.
Trans rights in India
While a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 recognized transgender as a third gender, the community remains marginalized.
Trans Indians and their allies have been urgently rallying against a transgender bill. They want a parliamentary committee in the Upper House to review the law.
India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill last month. They had hooped it would protect their rights.
But, the transgender community has slammed it. They claim it infringes their rights rather than protecting them.
Activists organized large-scale protests in Indian cities over the weekend.
India’s trans politicians
Late last year, unknown assailants abducted Chandramukhi Muvvala, a 32-year-old transgender woman running for a state assembly seat in India.
Muvvala had earlier said she wanted to launch transgender political party.
The country has had four elected trans officials.
India elected its first transgender lawmaker back in 1998. Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly elected Shabnam Bano.
India has also elected three transgender elected mayors. Kamla Jaan became mayor of Raigarh in 2000. Madhu Kinnar took the position in 2015.
Gorakhpur, in Uttar Pradesh, elected Aha Devi Aryanayakam as mayor in the same year.