Zero applications for admission to city colleges from third gender category
GUWAHATI: Although some of the colleges in Guwahati have allotted a separate space in their application forms for third gender community, students belonging to the same are not coming forward to list their names under that category.
Apart from male and female, there is a section called “other” under which third gender students can enter their names to disclose their gender while filling application forms in a college.
However, no students in Guwahati are found to have used this section so far, with some of the prominent colleges, including Handique Girls’ College, not even considering including this option in their application forms.
Currently, there is no concrete data available on the number of third gender population who have attained college-attending age. But, according to 2011 census, Assam’s transgender population stood at 11,374.
Third gender admission scene in Guwahati colleges
When asked why colleges have not received any application under “other” category, Sutopa Raichoudry, vice principal of B Borooah College told G Plus, “Maybe it’s a young age for them to realize that they are from the third gender category. They may also be conscious of the fact that they may be different and might not be comfortable in revealing their identity.
“At the age of 18-19, they may not be conscious of their identity and hence may comply with the general category of male or female and choose not to opt for the third category. Also in this age, they are answerable to their parents and hence they choose not to explain to their parents.”
This year, B Borooah College has received a total of 4,880 applications from students for studying in various under graduate courses, and 1,509 applications for the higher secondary courses.
But not a single application featured students from third gender category.
Cotton University, one of the premier institutes of the state, too has not received any applicants under the “other” category.
Sanjay Dutta, academic registrar of Cotton University told G Plus, “We don’t have any category specified for the third gender or the transgender students. We have a category called ‘other’ but have not received any applications in this category.”
Handique Girls’ College, the only girls’ college in Guwahati, does not even have the option for the third gender students who wish to take admission in this category. The gender section of the college’s application form is limited to girl students only.
This year, altogether 309 students applied for studying in higher secondary course and 1,915 students in the undergraduate course in Handique Girls’ College.
The situation at Gauhati Commerce College is similar to that of other colleges in the city.
The college received 2,300 applications for this year’s BCom course, but not a single applicant had registered their names under “others” category.
Reasons for not coming out
A number of reasons including the fear of alienation from family and society have kept people from coming out of the box. The students belonging to that community are no different.
Ayushi (name changed), a student studying in Delhi University (DU) who originally hails from Guwahati told G Plus, “My parents don’t know about me being a transgender. If I tell them, it would be too early for them to know. Also, they would also need some time for accepting me as a transgender. I was always determined not to study in my hometown because of their (my parents) mentality. Even after its legalization, I’m sure most of the people here won't be able to accept me the way I am. Hence I decided to go away from my hometown and opted for DU.”
Ayushi also complained that most of the college campuses in Guwahati are not transgender-friendly.
However, for some, the hurdle of not being able to change their names has been holding them back from registering themselves in the third gender category.
Shweta (name changed), a student of Gauhati University said, “I have not changed my name and gender on paper yet, hence I have opted not to take admission in the third gender category. I am also scared to tell about my sexual preference to my parents.”
Scenario in other parts of the country
In contrast to the colleges in Guwahati, Delhi University (DU) has received at least one application under the third gender category this year.
The university, however, received 101 applications from the third gender students last year.
In addition, DU has initiated some friendly moves for the transgender students, including the establishment of a transgender resource centre at its North Campus to provide higher education counselling to transgender students.
Awareness programmes have also been organized in colleges under DU to sensitize students about transgender issues.
Also this year, the Maharashtra State Board has received 236 applications from the third gender students for Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams.