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 after her admission to a nursing course in a Vellore private college was cancelled abruptly because the Directorate of Medical Education told “only female candidates are eligible to apply for Diploma in Nursing courses.”
Born with a male body, Tamilselvi realised her 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 last year.
The college received her happily. “I was happy to wear nurse uniform. My college and classmates accepted me. I thought my sufferings 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, the Directorate said no transgender was admitted for diploma in nursing for 2017-2018. "Only females are eligible to apply for diploma,” it said.“My mother and I are doing housekeeping work. We paid admission fee with the money we saved, which the college refused to refund,” 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. So, they were asked for clarification.
Tamilselvi 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 saying, I cannot even study in that category,” she said
Radhakrishan said the policy of restricting admission only to women nurses is being reviewed.
Dr Edwin Joe said,”The 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.”