As we have already established, former POTUS Barack Obama is a brilliant leader who has gained the respect of people all over the world because of his sensitive and empathetic nature. Not only that, he is extremely aware of the changes in the world and capable of adapting to the ever-changing scenario, which makes him a true inspiration.
As you may be aware, Obama is in India right now and he had to dodge quite a few tricky questions when he was addressing the Town Hall in New Delhi. Among these, a question which particularly stood out was the one posed by transgender activist, Dr Akkai Padmashali.
The question touched upon the plight of the LGBTQ community in India who are criminalised under Article 377 of the IPC and Obama’s answer to her has really helped put things in perspective.
She first started off with expressing her admiration for Obama and talking about her journey to where she is now.
“Mr President I am a transgender woman. I was a sex worker, I was a beggar, I was rejected by all the sections of society. I am a black beauty and I love you. I have so many issues to bring before you as a social activist.”
Elaborating on the alienation faced by the LGBTQ community in India she asked him how they should raise their voice when the state terror is against the minority when they are dominated by the patriarchal power and are stigmatised because of it.
She also brought to the fore, the negligence meted out by the Government which hardly pays any attention to the needs of the LGBTQ community.
She also asked him how the LGBTQ community should go about their movement since all they wanted was love and acceptance.
Although Obama chose not to comment on the legislature of the country he did not refrain from telling her how to find her voice and to ensure that their voices are heard by the authorities.
“Finding a voice and being able to tell a story that somehow you are different are broken down because people start recognising their own experience in you. They recognise your humanity.”
He also talked about how art is a powerful medium to unite people together saying that in the end, it is all about making allies to support your movement. He elaborated by saying that you might find allies in each other when you think,
He gave her inspiration to make allies saying that it is how anyone can make political changes by making the authorities take notice of the situation.
He also spoke further about the time when he was in college in the 80s and the LGBTQ movement in America had begun with the student movements being the torch-bearers. He said that the need of the hour was the steady education of the public along with patience as such things do take time.
Apart from inspiring her and everyone else with his thoughtful answer, Obama also obliged to her request for a hug and told her that he would be happy to hug her once the event was over.
You can watch the whole video here:
Obama’s sensitive reply to the problems faced by the LGBTQ community in the country has certainly helped put the matter in perspective. Hopefully, the country will be able to accept the LGBTQ community in the near future.