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Manipur college opens doors for transgenders

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, July 4 � Probably for the first time in the North East, a young transgender got admitted to Bachelor of Arts course under Transgender (TG) category in Manipur�s premier DM College of Arts here last week.

The transgender who created history � Nandeibam Sandeep also known as Sandra, is a resident of Moirangkhom in Imphal West district. Sandra had passed matriculation from Maria Montessori School and finished 10+2 from Ram Lal Paul Higher Secondary School.

�Sandra was lucky that the college authority allowed admission in the BA course for TGs by printing a TG column in the admission forms,� said Santa Khurai, Secretary, All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMANA), a coalition network of three community-based organisations. �Otherwise she could have been forced to discontinue further studies�, he added.

In fact, DM College of Arts has introduced three gender columns � male, female and TG in the admission form for the first time. Sandra filled her gender in TG column and submitted the form along with the Gender Change Affidavit (GIC) with her mother�s support and newspaper declaration. The GIC is required to prove the transgender identity.

Expressing happiness over the new initiative taken up by the college authority after the Supreme Court�s NALSA (National Legal Service Authority) judgement passed on April 15, 2014, AMANA secretary Santa opined this will really help in decreasing the rate of school dropout among transgenders due to parent�s negligence for their education and social stigma.

The Supreme Court�s NALSA judgement had affirmed the constitutional rights and freedom of transgenders including those who are identified as third gender and those who are identified as opposite gender to their biological sex. By recognising diverse gender identities, the Court has broken the binary gender construct of �man� and �woman� that has pervaded Indian law.

�The implementation of the judgement will make the community remarkable in various sectors and skills,� Santa felt. �This will be a holistic approach for making them a well developed human being and a responsive citizen.�

Santa appealed to the State Government particularly the Education department to implement the NALSA judgement in the interest of the sizeable TG community in the State. Almost all beauty parlours in the State are exclusively manned by the transgenders, not to speak of their vital roles in plays or theatres. There is a good number of beauty parlours run by transgenders from Manipur in the metro cities of the country.

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