MYSURU: While sexual minority community members are still looked down upon in the society, Deepa Buddhe HG, has shown that they are no inferior to others. Deepa (32) has become the first transgender in Karnataka to pursue PhD. She is pursuing her first year research activity at the University of Mysore. She is doing research on her own community on the topic ‘Mysuru-Chamarajanagar Districts Transgender Communities: A critical study on the lives and struggle’ under the guidance of Dr B R Ambedkar Research and Extension Centre professor J Somashekar for the past one year.
Born as a ‘male’ child with four sisters to her parents, father Gurusiddaiah, a dailwage worker and mother Mahadevamma, she soon realised her identity when she was in Class 7.
"My parents used to love and look after me very well. But they started rejecting me after they came to know that I am a transgender. When I was studying in PU, I decided to walk away from the family and joined my community," she said. As the doors of her house were closed to her, she has not met her parents or visited the house for more than 12 years.
Deepa who completed primary education in her native village Heggavadipura, high school in Santhamarahalli in Chamarajanagar taluk, continued her pre-university education at Government PU College in Santhamarahalli while working as a part-time worker at Samatha Society, which works for the welfare of transgenders. Within a few years, she became the project manager of the society and in 2018, she became its president. She also became treasurer of Karnataka State Sexual Minority Forum.
"I joined degree college in Kuderu, but had to discontinue my education in 2015 as I had to face humiliation and problems in the society as I had identified myself with the transgender community. But later I completed my studies," she said.
In 2018, she joined MA in Ambedkar Studies in the University of Mysore where she secured 82 % in the final exams. During admission, she fought for transgender column in the admission application and succeeded.
"I secured the highest marks in my department. So I decided to pursue PhD and cleared the entrance and now I am pursuing research from April last year," she said.
Deepa, who still lives in Chamarajanagar, travels 60 km daily to the university to pursue her education. She leaves Chamarajanagar at 8 am and returns to her centre before 8 pm.
"I will try to complete my PhD in three years. After completion, I want to take up teaching and help my community people," she said and added that she believes in the teachings of Budha, Basava and Ambedkar.