In a first, Kalindi College, University of Delhi has established a transgender cell. The cell is organising a five-day webinar on the issue of gender sensitization in collaboration with the Nazariya Foundation.
Kalindi College has become the first college under the University of Delhi to set up a transgender cell. The vision of the cell is to educate its students about the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community. The idea of the cell was put forward by a faculty member, Prof. Anita Tagore (Convenor of the cell), as stated by the principal of the college, Prof. Naina Hasija. The Co-convenor of the cell is Ms. Baljit Kaur and the member teachers are Ms. Madhuri Singh, Ms. Phunchok Dolker, Mr. Sushrut Bhatia and Mr. Shashi Shekhar.
Whenever we think of them, there are only two things that come to mind– that they come to dance at weddings and that they are involved in begging. There is a need to educate students. We have 4,000 women students and 200 staffers. These are substantial numbers and we are in a position to educate them.Prof. Naina Hasija, Principal, Kalindi College
According to the reports by PTI, Prof. Hasija was scared about the society initially. Yet, she thought that society is slowly accepting them and it is their moral duty to educate the students about this community. Speaking about the Cell, she said that more than 300 students have registered themselves already. And as one of its very first ventures, the Cell, in collaboration with Nazariya Foundation – a queer feminist resource group that envisions to make the lives of this community visible – is organizing a five-day talk series, “Sharing Lives: Narratives of Empowerment ”, from 7 January 2022 to 12 January 2022. This series is held to provide a platform for the community to share their thoughts and experiences.
The notion that motivated Prof. Hasija to set up the cell was a visit by a colleague.
Prof. Namita Rajput, former Principal of Sri Aurobindo College (Evening), had come to our college for a talk. She told me that she had invited a transgender person for a talk and the teachers were against the event. But the person’s story left almost 80 percent of the teachers teary-eyed. They later apologised to [Professor] Rajput and the speaker,Prof. Hasija told PTI.
On the first day of the event, Nazariya Foundation was introduced to the students. The speakers, Rituparna, Zayan and Jitender identify themselves as lesbian, trans and non-binary respectively and have taken up the pronouns she/her, he/him and they/them respectively. They screened a presentation in the webinar to give an overview of the community.
On the second day, the introduction continued along with educating the students on new subjects. The students were informed about the transgender person’s experience in employment. They were sensitised on the issue of harassment that is faced by the community, especially in the workplace. Furthermore, the difference between gender and sex was also explained.
If you have any questions regarding someone’s gender identity, just go around and ask. You need to be kind and have the same respect you would give to any other person.Jitender N. Bhardwaj, Nazariya Foundation
On the third day, the topic of discussion was a transgender person’s experience in the education sector. Zayan shared his life experiences in the same regard. By the end of the webinar, the floor for questions was opened up and one of the students asked Prof. Tagore about having an add-on course related to gender sensitization and the latter agreed. She promised the students to talk about the same with the higher authorities.
Gender is something which is a part of your identity – your whole existence shouldn’t be questioned based upon it and that’s why I think this small step of opening a Transgender cell in our college will help students to be aware of and to learn about gender sensitization. As a lot of students can be out there closeted, transgender cell will provide them a safe space to express themselves.Srishti Singh, Student, Kalindi College
The themes of the fourth and fifth days are ‘What is LGBTQIA+’ and ‘How to be a good LGBTQ+ ally’ respectively, which are yet to take place. The webinar is proving to be quite enlightening and it envisions to remain educational for the upcoming sessions.
- In Conversation with Queer Collectives across Delhi University
- The Experience of a Transgender Woman in University of Delhi
- Trans Equality & The Oppression of Gender
Feature Image Credits: Ankita Baidya for DU Beat