he was born as Ajay Reddy who always wanted to be a girl from a very young age. Her father Ramesh Reddy is from a very well-educated family from Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. Her mother Anuradha Reddy hails from a well-read and well-traveled family and is responsible for grooming her to be the person she is today. Her grandfather Gopalkrishna Reddy was a very generous man who left all his property to his grandchild Ajay then and now Apsara. Her mother’s side looked after her very well while her dad’s side was not that receptive. Her father was an alcoholic and he used to constantly have issues with her mother and this transgender child. Her father lived only for himself but her mother created a parallel happy life without him. Being a rebellious teenager and a strong-minded person, Apsara always tried to stay away from him.
She studied at Sishya, a prestigious school in Chennai. However, children too can be cruel at times. At school, they used to call her by names, the boys would avoid her, or say harsh things like she was girlie, or use nasty words to describe her. In spite of all odds around, she topped in her ICSE exams and subsequently, at Lady Andal, which was a state board, in the commerce stream. As a confident person, she always lived on her terms making her way to what she wanted, at the age of 13; she surfed through Google about a boy wanting to be a girl and found out about the transgender sex and hormone changes. She was determined to go through with it.
Thereafter, she went to Australia to pursue her Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism with a specialisation in Investigative Journalism. Alongside, ‘The Hindu’, a well-known publication of India, too gave her an opportunity to write for them. For the newspaper, she interviewed eminent personalities including Nicolas Cage, AR Rahman, Michael Schumacher, and Rubens Barrichello. She also wrote for the ‘Bharat Times’ in Australia and worked with the Indian Consulate. Later on, she worked as a media advisor to Consul General Dr. TJ Rao and that’s how she got the opportunity to meet Jagdish Tytler and interviewed Prime Minister John Howard there. In Australia, she found a great set of friends who were nonjudgmental and a whole new life opened up for her. There she met a beautiful transsexual woman called Jacinta who guided her about gender counsellors. In Australia, insurance covers all kinds of medical problems including hormone therapies, tablets, and gender counsellors. So, she approached a gender counsellor and simultaneously began my hormone therapy. After a year, she finally told her parents about her sexual orientation. After all the challenges and discomfort, her mother stood by her in every decision.
After three months, she got her scholarship to the City University of London to study International Journalism with a focus on Developmental Economics. There she worked for the BBC World Service Radio as news and current affairs RJ. Quickly she started becoming a voice for the local trans-woman for the transgender Asian community. She was also a part of a Pakistani group called Himmat that lobbied against forced marriage in the UK. A lot of Pakistani gays and lesbians in the UK were forcibly taken back to Pakistan and a lot of honour killings took place.
Thereafter, she was chosen as the Asian ambassador for the London Mayor’s Gay Asian Float. She worked with Scotland Yard to help people report rape in the transgender community. No one listens to a transgender woman because they think you are different and out there only for sex. She also worked with a Melbourne-based radio station called Joy Melbourne, which was a gay, transgender, and lesbian radio station. Meanwhile, she also did a current affairs show at the BBC, after which she worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Communications and Public Affairs Department to talk about the so-called taboo subjects like sex, HIV, condoms, and all that.
After her stint in London, she came back to India and started working at ‘The Indian Express’ newspaper as a Features Editor and had a successful column. Being in the press, changed everything for her. Then she was offered a very senior job at ‘Deccan Chronicle’ as the Features Editor first and then promoted to the post of the Senior Editor. She was handling supplements there. While working with ‘Deccan Chronicle’, she met many powerful politicians. Her work opened up new dimensions when she did a TV show called ‘Natpudan Apsara’ on Thandi Network. After that, she was unstoppable and she achieved many things that she wanted. The journey was tough but there were also high points. Jaguar awarded her the Women’s Excellence Award in 2012. She tried her hands in politics by being a party worker of many political parties, finally got a plum post in Congress. Hereafter, interesting to see is that who elevates whom, the Congress will elevate Apsara or Apsara will add something to the sinking Congress.
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