CHENNAI: “It was not my mistake to be born as a transgender, so why punish me?” asks S Tamilselvi. She has been fighting a lone battle for several months now after her admission to a nursing course in a private college at Vellore was cancelled abruptly because the Directorate of Medical Education told the college “only female candidates are eligible to apply for Diploma in Nursing courses.”
Born with a male body, Tamilselvi realised her true sexuality later and subsequently changed her name. She cleared her Plus-Two board exam in 2013 with a score of 757 and underwent a sex reassignment surgery in 2015. After much struggle and paying Rs 30,000, she managed to get admission in the Arun School of Nursing, Vellore last year.
The college received her happily. She said, “I was so happy to wear nurse uniform, my college and classmates accepted me. I thought my sufferings finally came to an end. But, that dream was short-lived. After one month of admission, the college received a letter from the selection committee, Directorate of Medical Education, saying only female candidates are eligible to apply for the Diploma in Nursing course.”
In the letter dated November 17, 2017, which was seen by Express said, “No transgender has been admitted for diploma in nursing for 2017-2018. Only female candidates are eligible to apply for diploma in nursing”.
“My mother and I are doing housekeeping work. We paid the college admission fee of `30,000 with the money we managed to save, which the college refused to refund also now,” said Tamilselvi.
An official from the Directorate of Medical Education said the Tamil Nadu Nursing Council has to register all students joining nursing courses. In registration form there was no separate column for transgender. Only male and female student column was there. So, they were asked for clarification. Tamilselvi also met Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and Director of Medical Education A Edwin Joe. “The Health Secretary asked me to go and study registering in female category.
I went to the college, then after two days, the college again received a call from the Directorate of Medical Education office saying, I cannot even study in that category,” she said Speaking to Express, Radhakrishan said, “The earlier policy of restricting admission only to the women nurses itself is being reviewed by the government.” Dr Edwin Joe said,”The Tamil Nadu Nursing Council has asked the college for clarification over not having a separate column for transgenders. Soon, we will get the reply. We are also in the process of helping her.”