With admission season on, many colleges in the city have stuck to putting a separate column for the third gender in application forms. But when it comes to actually making the required toilet facilities for transgender students, none of the colleges have taken any steps.
What is worse is that neither the state’s higher education department nor the Savitribai Phule Pune University have come up with any circular regarding making special infrastructure despite a circular from the University Grants Commission (UGC), officials said.
“I believe that you have spared no efforts to create TG-friendly infrastructure like washrooms, restrooms etc in your university.
Understandably, this will go a long way in acclimatising TG students without facing any fear, stigma or shame,” says the UGC circular issued early this year by secretary Jaspal Sandhu.
However, none of the suggestions have been taken seriously by either the education department or SPPU.
Fergusson College was the first in the city to include the option of transgenders in their application form last year.
Bipanna Gabarail, LGBT activist who runs Ashirwad Sanstha for transgenders said, “Till now, none of the transgenders here have taken admission under the third sex option because the society is yet to accept us. Also, with no infrastructure, it will create problems because everybody will come to know that this particular student is a transgender, which means they will face problems visiting any of the toilets, for male and female students.”
Gabarail said that while a student has approached her regarding admission this year, she is still counselling her as her parents are not accepting the fact that she is a transgender.
“In Tamil Nadu, many of my friends have taken admission in colleges, but here the society and even the college authorities are not very open to the idea of actually having us. Giving an option in the admission form is only the first step, but if the government is actually thinking of getting us into the mainstream, more things like restrooms, toilets etc should be built in public. Moreover, awareness is also needed in colleges and society alike that we too are human and we too have rights as a citizen of this country,” Gabarail said.
Dhanraj Mane, director of higher education in the state, said, “Till now, we have not come up with any circular regarding inclusion of transgenders.”
Narendra Kadu, registrar, SPPU said, “We think this is an important issue and we will definitely think about it. Till now, we have not got any students who belong to this category.
“Also, we have not received any such requests. If even a single faculty or student belonging to this category sends us a request, we will immediately build required infrastructure for them. Otherwise also, I will take up the matter with higher authorities.”
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