ROURKELA: With the campus acceptance for LGBTQ students in higher education institutions remaining a grey area, the first such step to help create an inclusive space has come from National Institute of Technology-Rourkela (NIT-R). The bold step in creating the campus an open and safe space for persons of every gender and orientation has led to formation of the Rainbow Dot Club under the Literacy and Cultural Society of NIT-R. Club members claim that NIT-R is the first among NITs of the country and first educational institutions in Odisha to have an LGBTQ support group.
The idea is to sensitise people and create acceptance for the community about which people know, but avoid to talk. To start with, the Rainbow Dot Club in association with a couple of voluntary organisations working for rights of the community held a sensitisation programme on Wednesday evening. The programme titled “Queering Our Premises” laid thrust on importance of understanding LGBTQ issues in academic institutions with an aim to educate the NIT-R fraternity about “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” beyond the binary lens of male and female.
The sensitisation has got off to the perfect start by addressing difference between sex and gender, explaining gender dysphoria as well as the need for acceptance of alternat ive sexualities. It had all started a couple of years ago when an LGBTQ student on being identified by his friends was not only abruptly isolated, but also was at the receiving end of mocking, teasing and bullying. The victim finally slipped into depression and skipped the semester examination.
Joya Tripathy, Chairperson, Sundargarh Transgender and Third-Gender Association says the whole idea is to deal with the difficulties of such students in academic institutions and how they can overcome the issues. The club headed by Suzatra Chatterjee and Ankita Das assert to make the campus an inclusive space for all. Das said, they wanted people to talk about the issue and once people get open to dialogue, it would find ways to break the chain of stigma gripping the LGBTQ individuals.
The campus has some such students who keep themselves in hiding and lead a stressful life fearing victimisation and isolation on getting identified, she claims. The club hopes that at one point of time, there would be greater acceptability for the LGBTQ community in NIT-R which would subsequently be emulated by other academic institutions.