Despite the NALSA Judgment and Transgender Act 2019 passed by the Government of India, transgender person inclusion in Higher Education in India has to go a long way. The study is undertaken in the 1st week of March 2021 by the researchers under the Department of Adult Continuing Education at the University of Delhi North Campus. Under the aegis of the Institute of Eminence (FDP) suggested a long gap between information and implementation.
Being the marginalized groups, trans students report a greater level of harassment and discrimination. They have their own perception of the negative environment in the classrooms, campuses, and higher education institutions. They feel less accepted as part of social life as compared to others.
Nearly 90 percent out of 150 samples from both genders were aware of transgender persons in terms of begging, Toli-Badhai, dancing, and in the sex profession, hardly in education and especially, in higher education. More than 92 to 95 percent were not aware of the Transgender Act 2019 passed by the parliament of the legal provisions made by the Government.
The study also suggests that there are students who lack or do not engage in advocacy due to their personal values, lack of trans inclusive services, anxiety disorders, no known opportunities, activism, etc. on campus.
The respondents from the formal stream from college or university were not seen as transgender persons on their campus. However, 2 percent of them from the School of Open Learning (SOL) were aware as students of open learning.
It was also observed that Trans Adults are quite less interactive with their classmates. They are lower in the areas of physical health, self-confidence, leadership quality, self-esteem, and many more. This study shows that trans students lose their “identity” and are unable to represent themselves as what they are.
They feel shy and are continuously conscious about their gender and acceptance in a society which makes them quite uncomfortable which is a challenging issue even in this 21st century. Thus they face stigma and discrimination.
Research is being also taken on the larger sample in the University of Delhi and a National level webinar is also planned in March involving University authorities and college principals. None of them has ever seen restroom facilities in educational institutions. The study also suggests that trans students are most of the time given extra corner at the libraries, computer labs, or canteens which, again are part of the discrimination and disparity. This not only affects their mental health but sometimes, results in suicidal attempts.
Most of the respondents strongly recommended that higher educational colleges/ Universities should start sensitization workshops for the college principles/Heads of Faculty Members and the administrative staff. They also strongly felt that Gender Neutral washroom’s common room, Library facilities at Universities/Colleges level. Committees and thus advocacy/IEC or ICT facilities be first available only throw the community will develop confidence in applying for the course.
It is strongly recommended Transgender friendly higher educational institutions. For Transgender Students, there must be health insurance coverage, counselling sessions, and awareness campaigns must be organized, to sensitize other people as well. There should be various training and workshops on trans inclusive and trans-affirming practices.
The curriculum plays an important role in providing and creating a knowledgeable environment. Colleges should address gender identity and trans-inclusive content should be accessible to both, cis and transgender students. Discipline should be regulated and colleges must advise their faculty members to include more curriculum on Transgender content.
Despite the discrimination, transgender people have achieved milestones, but still, there’s a long way in getting the place and space in society. For example, when we talk about women there are many policies and acts for their protection and safety. Even in the surveys, we get to know about how women are achieving success in all the spheres of life. But again, we see discrimination against women not only outside, even in our families. Similarly, for Trans genders, there are many laws and acts, but discrimination and disparity can still be seen everywhere.
Hence, sensitizing people around us is not only the way but it is going to be an education revolution as well.
The research was undertaken by Shiva Singh, Siya Bihari under the supervision of Professor Rajesh (PI) & Dr Geeta Mishra (Co-pi)
Department of Adult continuing education and Extension under the aegis of Institute of Eminence (FDP).