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India: Transgender students want parties to raise their issues in poll manifesto

Sunday 9 September 2018, by siawi3


Transgender students want parties to raise their issues in poll manifesto

Source: The Tribune, August 29,2018

“My department has been asking me to deposit a fee of Rs 34,000 per semester. We don’t live with our parents. How are we going to pay our fee? We have been fighting for fee waiver, but nothing has been done,” said Preet (20), a student of graduation in Fashion Technology Department of Panjab University (PU).

Preet lives in a dera whose head is Kajal Mukhi.

“The transgenders do not have any option. The university should waive of their fee. The scholarship money comes late and is lesser. Otherwise, they have to go for prostitution or dance at weddings. A similar thing happened with me 25 years ago and I couldn’t study,” said Kajal Mukhi, who is a Class IX passout, and was accompanied by Preet at the PU on Tuesday.

Transgender students of the PU are seeking their share of issues in party manifestoes for the upcoming student elections. They are seeking reservation, hostel accommodation, fee waiver and scholarships to sustain.

“A number of parties have approached me for votes. But, we want parties to put our issues in their election agenda. It has been a year and we have been fighting for basic things,” said Dhananjay Chauhan (48), a student of German Department.

Chauhan has also been a member of the Transgender Welfare Board in Chandigarh, which was formed last year. She was the first student to have enrolled in the PU, three years ago.

“We need reservation in courses. The PU should allocate one or two seats in every department. About 10-12 transgenders are unable to take admission due to low marks,” she said.

Last year, the PU got toilets for transgenders constructed at the Students Centre. But, they are awaiting allotment of hostels.

“The PU has refused to give us hostel so far,” said Chauhan. “The PU should have sensitisation programmes related to transgender issues,” said Chauhan.

“New students have come on campus and during elections, outsiders too, reach here and we face bullying,” said Preet.

There is another transgender Divya, who studies in the Hindi Department. In total, there are four transgender students on campus.

“Our demands are different from other students. We have identity crisis. We are looking for basic things like fee waiver, right to study, hostel and scholarships,” said Oshin, who has recently completed her German diploma and is on waiting list for Masters in Social Work.