TIRUNELVELI:In a decision that would empower transgenders (TGs), the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) has announced that all institutions under its fold would provide free education to members of the community from this academic year.
The decision was unanimously taken by its Syndicate recently. The MSU claimed this is the first time an university in India has come forward to offer free education to transgenders. According to the resolution, over and above the sanctioned students’ strength for various undergraduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) courses granted by the Standing Council for Academic Affairs, one seat would be allotted to a person from the transgender community in each course in their university and affiliated colleges.
Besides, the Syndicate, chaired by Vice Chancellor K Baskar, also decided to create separate restrooms for TG students in the respective institutions.
Transgender activist and founder of Sahodari Foundation Kalki Subramaniam, welcomed the decision but had a different take on providing separate restrooms.
Describing the move as discriminatory, she said, “What we want is inclusiveness. As far as I know, we (transgenders) are comfortable using the women’s restroom. Consider the case of Prithika Yashini, the first transgender to become a Sub-Inspector (SI) of police. She underwent training with women officers. I do not understand the need for a separate restroom.”
However, she added,“This is indeed a commendable step. I hope that other leading universities in the country will also follow the path that MSU has taken and provide free education to members of the transgender community. Education is the only hope for transsexual people to become free of social discrimination.”