After recognition of transgenders as a third gender by the Supreme Court in April 2014, Delhi University’s application form from this year gives space to the third gender. University has finally allowed transgender applicants to enroll in post graduate courses in the ongoing session. Due to the FYUP debate this year, this proposed change couldn’t be implemented for the undergraduate courses but the same will be done next year for the session of 2015-16.
This step by the University is surely ensuring equal education rights for the transgender community but controversies have already started gaining attention. For the post graduate admissions these students have been enrolled under a special category under the OBC quota. This hasn’t been welcomed by many.
“Years of activism by our community and by LGBT student committee of DU has finally paid off. Apart from change within the University, this move has established the precedent for other universities bound by the SC judgment now to follow. It is a step towards a progressive and liberal academic establishment. The community feels that equality and justice have now found their way and that University is moving closer to values and principles.” – Mayank Vashistha, a DU alumnus who is an LGBT activist.
Activists suggest a totally different quota to be introduced as these students are not necessarily from an OBC background. Nothing is yet clear on the reservations as University Grants Commission (UGC) hasn’t issued any notification for that.
Piya who comes from the transgender community says. “We have no category. Hum na general hai, na SC, na ST aur na hi OBC. Hmare liye ek alag se hijra category honi chahiye.”
This inclusion holds more value as the teacher recruitment forms also have the third gender category. Such a step now ensures more equality in the University. LGBT community also celebrates as the University administration was finally convinced to move beyond the gender binary albeit on the premise of a Supreme Court judgment.
Neelesh Sharma, the advocate of Pehchaan, an NGO which works for the transgenders feels that the decision has allowed the transgender community to project themselves in a better manner infront of everyone else but he also feels that efforts have to be made to make the ‘normal’ people aware about this community and their rights.
“There is a lot of discrimination in our country for our community. We are treated different from everyone which is why we can’t pursue higher studies which further leads to unemployment for most of us. I have just completed my class XII. Now that the laws support us, we are going to make full use of it. University has opened an opportunity for us to go and study. All we expect is that the mentality of other people changes soon and this too has an expiry date.” – Kiran, a transgender student (DU aspirant)
“After the transgender students are part of the University there has to be a proper system to protect the interests of these students. Orientation programmes and seminars have to be conducted in the colleges for increasing the awareness among the other students”, he says.
The University students are having mixed reactions to this move. “On one hand this step by the University gives recognition to this community and on the other it secludes them from the other people”, says Abhinav Modi, a student. It however has to be ensured that these students are treated well after they are admitted to the University and sensitization of students has to be worked upon. Shunning of these students also needs to be prevented.
The administration now waits for the orders from UGC to further look into this matter.
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