Noted transgender rights activist from Bengaluru, Akkai Padmashali, has been invited to be a part of the Town Hall to be hosted by Barack Obama in New Delhi on December 1.
Organised by the Obama Foundation, the event will see the former US President interacting with young Indian leaders from across the country about "what it means to be an active citizen and make an impact."
Akkai told TNM that she will use the opportunity to focus on the rights of the LGBTQI+ community.
"I'll be talking about how we as a community have been consistently discriminated against and have been socially excluded by the powerful system and patriarchy," she said.
Akkai said that Obama, during his tenure as President of US, had worked for the welfare of minorities and she hopes that his foundation will continue to work on this path.
"In the present situation in India and the United States, we don't see an enabled environment where people have the right to expression, right to identity, right to privacy, all the fundamental, civil and human rights guaranteed to us. We are not following that now. How can the movement come together with the support of the Obama Foundation – I think that will be the highlight of the meeting tomorrow," she said.
Akkai also feels that when it comes to discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community, the situation is similar across the world.
"I will be taking a strong objection to it and will definitely be demanding that the Obama Foundation stands for these sort of issues," she stated.
In 2015, Akkai had been invited to the White House but was not able to meet Obama then. She, however, had met White House officials with whom she discussed the Millennium Development Goals, among other issues.
"This time that I am meeting him in person, I hope that I can definitely have my conversation about the issues that I am going to raise tomorrow," she stated.
In 2015, Akkai became the first transgender person to be awarded the prestigious Karnataka Rajyotsava Award.
Through her organisation Ondede (loosely meaning marginalized), which focuses on creating awareness about sexuality, sexual diversity and right to choose one’s sexual orientation, Akkai has time and again focused attention on problems that transgender people face.
The Obama Foundation has already hosted similar events in Germany, Indonesia, and Brazil, and now Obama is headed to New Delhi.
"The Town Hall will expand the conversation about what it means to be an active citizen and make an impact — and how the Obama Foundation can support emerging leaders in this effort," the Foundation states in its website.
Those not being to able to personally attend the session can also view it live.
President Obama Announces Town Hall with Young Leaders in India
Just announced: On December 1, the Obama Foundation is hosting a Town Hall in New Delhi with President Barack Obama and hundreds of young Indian leaders from across the country. Obama.org/IndiaPosted by Obama Foundation on Wednesday, 15 November 2017