CU decision too late, say Bengal transgender board member



Calcutta University's decision to include the third gender option in admission forms from the next academic year has failed to enthuse the transgender community, which feels the recognition has come "too late" and regret that West Bengal lags behind most states in ensuring the marginalised gender's rights.

"This has come too late. Our community members in other states have got many more rights. Here at long last, we may have got some recognition in higher education, but there is no provision for us in healthcare, employment opportunities," state transgender board member Ranjita Sinha told IANS.

Sinha also said the step would have 'little impact' on the community. "This recognition has come in higher education, and that too five years after the Supreme Court gave us this right."

"How many members of the transgender community can reach that level? For that to happen, our rights need to be protected from the school level. But that's not the case," Sinha said.

Sinha said, unlike neighbouring states, like Odisha, Chhattishgarh and Bihar, the subject of transgender was not part of the school curriculum. "The history of transgenders is not taught in the secondary level. People have no idea who the transgenders are," said Sinha.

The community had approached the government about the problem of transgender children, many of whom are driven out of homes. "There are no shelter homes for these children. There are no separate bathrooms for them, which is a must considering the way society still looks at them".

Calcutta University Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee said on Friday, from the next academic year the admission forms for post-graduate and under-graduate courses would have "others" option apart from male and female in the gender column.

According to the university authorities, members of the transgender community have to tick the box corresponding to "others".IANS