Kalindi College in East Patel Nagar, New Delhi, has formed a transgender cell to educate its students about issues related to the community and build awareness.
This is the first such precedent set for a college affiliated to the University of Delhi.
Kalindi College principal Naina Hasija said the idea to have such a cell was suggested by faculty member Anita Tagore. “Initially, I was scared about society. But, we thought that now that society is slowly accepting them, we must educate our students about the community,” Hasija said.
A visit by a colleague further bolstered Hasija’s decision to form the transgender cell. “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% of the teachers teary-eyed. They later apologised to Rajput as well as the speaker,” Hasija recalled.
More than 300 students have registered for the cell and several teachers have joined too, she added.
The college is conducting a five-day webinar to sensitize students, during which people from the transgender community will be asked to speak about their lives and struggles.
“Whenever we think of them, there are mostly 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,” Hasija stressed.
The college has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nazariya, a not-for-profit queer feminist resource group, and plans to hold counselling sessions for students with the NGO’s support.
“Representatives from Nazariya will counsel students so that if they want to come out to their parents about their gender identity and so on, they could talk,” Hasija said.