Only education can mainstream the community : Apsara Reddy, Transsexual journalist and activist
Updated on: 10 Jun 2016
Transsexual journalist and activist Apsara Reddy shares how studying in Australia and the UK helped her discover herself
Poise. It's a near-impossible emotion to wear when you're talking about things as traumatic as transitioning from a man to a woman — the stigma, the sneering and the sarcasm, especially in India. Apsara Reddy does it remarkably well. The journalist who recently forayed into politics by joining Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's party, the AIADMK, talks about her journey into this new phase of life and how education is the answer to most of the issues plaguing the LGBTQ community today. Having studied Marketing and Investigative Journalism at Monash University, Australia and Broadcast Journalism in the UK, Apsara calmly explains how education is a "great leveller" and can potentially make the difference between a transgender working her way to respectability, and harassing people on the street to eke out a living. Excerpts from an intricate and introspective conversation:
How important do you reckon education is to empower people from the LGBTQ community?
Education, I feel, is very important, because very often I see transgenders and gay and lesbian people wearing their sexuality on their sleeve and being very abrasive. Even when IPC 377 was initially brought in, a lot of them were fighting against law enforcement agencies, saying that it's their right and behaving badly. I feel that education is a great leveller. Empowering these communities to get a mainstream job can only be done through education — to know what your rights are, to get legal aid, to know what you can or cannot ask or even basic people skills.
A lot of schools in the West have made sex and sexuality education a mandatory subject. Is that something we need?