No facilities to encourage transgender students

Shradha Chettri and Heena Kausar/June 10 – Delhi University is transgender friendly but only on the application form.

For the second year, the premier university is accepting applications under the ‘other’ gender category but apart from a section on the form, there are no facilities that can encourage transgender applicants to join.

The single policy decision related to transgender applicants was taken last year. It said they will be barred from taking admission in women’s colleges.

“This rule remains unchanged. Any other policy decision, such as reservation, percentage benefit or infrastructure upgrades were not discussed specifically. If need be then the university will provide infrastructure and other requirement,” said Manoj Sinha, member of the admission committee and Aryabhatta College principal.

Last year ,66 aspirants had applied under the category but nor a single one joined – either because they did not meet the cut off or because they did not find the facilities and attitudes welcoming. This year, there are six applicants in the category so far.

The ‘other’ category was introduced in the undergraduate form in 2015 and in the postgraduate form in 2014.

A study conducted by the university’s department of ‘adult, continuing education and extension’ confirms that no student in this category was admitted to DU in 2015-2016.

The study said it could be because of the lack of supporting infrastructure, grievance committees, formal orientation programme, and sensitisation programme for students and faculties.

“There should be clear directives from the higher authorities such as UGC or the vice-chancellor for more trans-inclusive policies and resources. There is a need to revise the anti-discrimination policy in the light of transgender students,” said Rajesh, who conducted the study and does a community outreach programme with such people.

“DU does not want to acknowledge the presence of transgender students. Since it is an open campus there is a need for elaborate sensitizing and creating awareness. Forget about infrastructure, the university first needs to put grievance redressal mechanism in place,” said Rafiul a member of DU Queer Collective — an LGBT support group.

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