CAMPUS Report: Is drop out is a force able act for Transgender students..??

NEW DELHI: The law empowered them and the court opened doors but it will take a lot more to fight well-entrenched prejudice and bias. Getting a university education remains a traumatic experience for transgenders, forcing some of them to drop out and explore options. They move away from the mainstream, rather than integrate with it.
Delhi University introduced the third gender category in the postgraduate application form in 2014 and in the undergraduate application next year, following a landmark judgement by Supreme Court, but society lags behind. The community has, however, kept its hopes alive. The university received four applications in this category in 2015 and 15 in 2016.
This year, 70 applications have been received so far! Colleges need to sensitise other students and counsel the transgenders who are coming in now if they are to stay the course.
Aarav Singh, 19, has been emotionally bruised by his first year in college. A transgender, he identifies himself as a male, but since his biological identity was female, all his records proclaim him to be Kaur. So, after school, he had to join an all-girls college. The year that followed has left him scarred.
Other students poked fun at him for his masculine behavior and dress preferences. Teachers too would ask him questions about his identity.
Such was his sense of isolation that Aarav opted out of college after first year and chose to work towards gender transition in the hope of embracing a male identity that was closer to his real self. The process is on and Aarav is now more than confident of where he stands in this gender tussle between male, female and other. Aarav says he is keen to return to his studies but a regular college is out of question as he fears the stares and questioning and lack of empathy.
He is now part of a group of young members of the transgender community who wish to get an education and a career. They have come together this admission season with the support of voluntary organisations Transgender Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust (TWEET Foundation) and Humsafar Trust to chart a course. Their first stop will be IGNOU.
Rehana Yadav, 24, who is in her final year of graduation, is struggling to rid herself of her biological tag of male as reflected in her school documents. Her transition into the woman that she aspires to be is on but her past haunts her. When TOI met her, she had just returned from her examination centre. "Since I have been registered as a male in the records, based on my school documents - though I have documents like Voter's ID and Aadhar that show me to be a transgender and my college form puts me in the "others" category - I was asked to provide a medical certificate to prove my transgender identity. Why should I need a certificate to establish myself as a transgender? When I am saying so and my basic documents mention it, why can't colleges and universities accept this fact," asks Rehana.

She is also facing the same predicament that Aarav encountered. "Though I am Rehana and identify myself as a female, I have to appear for my exams at centres reserved for male candidates. Earlier, I used to get affected by the reaction of other students but not any longer," she told TOI. She pointed that in three years of graduation, there have been days when she has waited for her teachers to escort her past a groups of students, on her way to the classroom, to avoid being bullied.
Simmy Arora, 33, has discontinued her studies after graduation. Coping with the process of making a transition from male to female, she said she was in a dilemma. "I did my schooling and graduation as a male though I felt like a female. I also did jobs as a male. People would stare and pass remarks but I kept to myself. It was after graduation that I started gender transition and, hence, decided not to study further in order to avoid uncomfortable questions," says Simmy. Her family is supportive, but she is apprehensive about the reaction of all those around her who consider her to be a female when they discover that she is a transgender. "I am confused about whether to change my documents to female or others," says Simmy.
Make-up artist Panya Panwar, in her twenties, says getting a job brings a fresh set of challenges. "The choice should be ours to be male, female or other. I am freelancing as an artist, but when it comes to finding a job, it is really hard if you disclose that you are a transgender," she says. Though she can pass off as a woman quite easily, she was forced to give up on graduation because of remarks and bullying by boys. She could rarely complete a paper because of the harassment. I would reach the exam centre late and leave early to avoid bullying," she recalls.
"We need to work on the mindset on gender in school, so that students can become sensitive towards the third gender and the gender spectrum," says Yashwinder Singh of Humsafar Trust . "Right now, there is no such education at any level in schools and colleges."
Credits: Ambika Pandit, TOI, Published in Times of India Delhi Edition on 08th June 2017; Photo Credits: Abheena Aher (TWEET Foundation)