Adhithika, 19, is a transwoman student of B.Sc. Visual Communication at The American College. She faced discrimination before transitioning, but now is accepted and supported. Activist Priya Babu spoke at a lecture on Gender Inclusivity, stressing the need for people to be more accommodating of those under transition. Educational institutions should create a safe environment and provide access to scholarships, free bus passes, etc. Adhithika is an example of how American College provides a conducive environment for gender inclusive development.
A. Adhithika, 19, is a first year student of B.Sc. Visual Communication at The American College. There was a time before she transitioned into a female, that Adhithika was mocked at and at one point of time she was forced to discontinue her studies and seek alms to eke out a living. But after she and her parents were counselled, she underwent gender affirmation surgery and is now in college.
“Counselling helped and also the fact that people on the campus accept me for what I am, a transwoman, has made my life easier,” says this aspiring film director. “This is what inclusivity is all about and it is this inclusivity that we are aspiring for,” said activist and Transgender Resource Centre Director Priya Babu, speaking at a lecture on Gender Inclusivity, organised by the Department of Visual Communication at The American College on Thursday.
Usually for many transgendered persons, the transitioning period begins in the late teens. Hence, during the high school period or at college, many face discrimination and are mocked at for their changing body language or different dressing style. “There should be a change in people’s perception. Theye should be accommodative of those under transition,” said Ms. Priya Babu.
For gender inclusivity, educational institutions should not just create a safe environment for transgenders but should have a mid-management team that helps these students gain access to scholarships, free bus passes, etc. “We also hope that through the awareness we are creating by having such dialogues, institutions will include trans-studies in their syllabus., she says.
With transgender identity gaining respectability, many who have been living a secretive life are joining the mainstream and their first step is to gain education,” she pointed out. “When students like Adhithika say they face no discrimination on campus, it proves that American College campus provides a conducive environment for gender inclusive development.
As a Viscom student, Adhithika can portray difficulties faced by a transgender on the screen; a literature student can write about the emotions through poems or essays, and a B.Com student can help the transgender by teaching them basic accounting to start a business. This promotion of life-skills, communication and closing the gap between genders is what we are looking at,” she added.