| Gauhati University |
Guwahati, June 21: Gauhati University has initiated the process to create a transgender-friendly campus, with a counselling centre, legal aid clinic, separate hostels, common rooms and hospital, to prevent alienation of these students.
The dean, faculty of law, Subhram Rajkhowa, who initiated the move, told The Telegraph that transgender students often feel unaccepted at colleges and universities.
He said these students confront a number of challenges, including a lack of access to healthcare and difficulties with sex-segregated facilities. The facilities introduced will be on the lines of that of Bangalore University, which was the first to grant admission to transgenders at the post-graduate level. “Transgender students may feel completely invisible or marginalised if little or no effort is made to acknowledge their presence on campus. Towards this end we organised a national workshop on law and policy making for social inclusion of transgender last Saturday,” he said.
Rajkhowa said the workshop was just the beginning of a mission to create awareness on the rights of transgender students and formulate policies to create suitable facilities for them.
According to Rajkhowa, vice-chancellor Okhil Kumar Medhi, who participated in the workshop, discussed the plight of transgender students in educational institutions.
“Setting up a counselling centre and legal aid clinic will help transgender students to know their rights. Normal students and faculty of the university can also be sensitised. We have asked the principals of all law colleges affiliated to Gauhati University to set up legal aid clinics at their institutions for the same purpose,” he said.
Rajkhowa said as part of creating sex-segregated facilities the university has started working on constructing separate hostels, common rooms and hospital for transgender students. “The vice-chancellor has even mooted the idea of putting a separate sex identification column in the admission forms into various courses of the university to identify transgender students and take care of them,” he said.
Several retired and sitting judges participated in the workshop.
Dipankar Das and Mridhusmita Sarma, research scholars of the university, said the basic objective of the move is to encourage transgender students to take admission in the university without fear and prejudice.
“There are reports that many transgender students refused to take admission in colleges and universities, fearing humiliation and alienation. The university’s move will send the right kind of message to these students and enthuse them to take admission,” Das said.
Kalki Subramaniam, renowned transgender activist from Chennai, who participated in the workshop, highlighted the ill-treatment meted out to transgenders in educational institutions and by the police and even family members. She said the talents and contributions of transgenders to society are largely ignored.
Stuti Deka, assistant professor of law, said transgenders need to be supported and not rejected or discriminated against. She said the university would create awareness on proper implementation of existing laws to protect this category of gender.