Barack Obama gave an inspiring reply to this transgender activist’s question
A transgender activist had just one question for President Barack Obama – and the former leader of the free world delivered.
The event in New Delhi saw Obama, whose presidency involved many positive changes for LGBT+ communities, speak to young Indian leaders from across the country.
One such leader was Akkai Padmashali, who posed the question: “I am transgender and have always faced discrimination – how can I be accepted?”
Obama, who had chosen Padmashali from the audience, said that speaking up was the first step.
“You are doing it right away by the way you are questioning me and you have found your voice,” he told her.
Change begins with “finding your voice and to be able to articulate your views and your experiences, to tell your story, and that is true of any group that is marginalised, stigmatised,” Obama added.
“Finding that voice and being able to tell a story so that the perceptions that somehow you are different are broken down because people start recognising their own experiences in you.
“Seeing your own humanity – that moment of recognition is the basis in which you begin to build political movements.”
Padmashali was the only trans participant to be invited to the event.
To raucous applause from the audience, she also spoke out about India’s discriminatory laws against queer people, and the suffering and isolation it causes.
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