Transcending gender barrier at Chennai college

Dr Ambedkar Government Arts College appoints Jency, a transwoman, as a guest lecturer in English department

Published: 12th December 2022 03:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th December 2022 03:56 AM   |  A+A-

Jency with her students at the Dr Ambedkar Government Arts College | Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI  Transgender lecturers are rare in India. However, Dr Ambedkar Government Arts College at Vyasarpadi in Chennai, an alma mater for many first-generation graduates, has broken the barrier and appointed 29-year-old N Jency as a guest lecturer in the English department.

Though the college administration was hesitant as to how students, who mainly come from underprivileged sections, will behave with their new teacher, Jency said she never faced bigotry and has won the hearts of students and teachers alike with her knowledge and teaching style.

Though the appointment is contractual, Jency feels it is the first step towards her dream of becoming a permanent English professor in a government college. However, the journey has not been an easy one. Despite being a gold medallist in MPhil and pursuing PhD, Jency was rejected by more than 10 educational institutions in the last year before landing this job.

“After seeing my resume, the colleges would call me for a demonstration and hesitate to appoint me because of my gender identity. It was heartbreaking. However, I am thankful to Ambedkar College authorities for allowing me to showcase my talent,” said Jency.

She further said there is no dearth of talent among the transgender community, however, due to the stigma, many do not get the right opportunities that match their qualification. They are forced to take up petty jobs and beg for survival. “Many trans people are suffering and not able to come out of the closet because of the fear that they would lose their jobs or won’t get educational opportunities once they come out about their sexual orientation. I came out as a transwoman only in 2019, after enrolling for a PhD. There is an urgent need to create awareness about accepting transgenders in society,” said Jency.

Sharing her experience Jency said, “I do my job with honesty and dedication. If I help my students learn why would they misbehave with me? They respect me just like any teacher in the college.” Jency feels by working as a teacher she will be able to do her bit in creating an inclusive society for her community.” I strongly believe in the words that education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world. Through education I will try to eradicate gender inequality and stigma related to our community,” said Jency, who managed the expenses of her gender affirmation surgery by working as an announcer in a radio station.

Principal of Dr Ambedkar Government Arts College, R Sumathi said, “Jency’s appointment was solely made based on her qualification. She teaches well.” The college, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, is taking efforts to create awareness among students about gender equality. The college has now decided to set up an ‘inclusive club’ where they will conduct events to eradicate stigma related to transgenders, disabled and castes.

India Matters


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