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How one university in India is welcoming transgender students

How one university in India is welcoming transgender students

Members of Chandigarh's transgender welfare board advised the university (Photo: Facebook)

Panjab University in India’s northern city of Chandigarh is planning to waive tuition fees for transgender students, according to the Times of India.

The university is introducing a number of trans-friendly changes after consultations with the city’s Transgender Welfare Board last year.

The board suggested free tuition for trans students, separate accommodation blocks, places at school reserved for trans students, and sensitivity training for staff by the welfare board.

The university had already constructed a separate toilet, a spokesperson for the University told the Hindustan Times.

‘We will try to incorporate their other demands of trans-friendly hostels’ he said.

The vice-chancellor has already agreed to wave tuition fees but needed approval from the board, according to the Times of India.

Last year, Director of higher education Rubinderjit Brar urged trans students to come forward.

‘We can only make it possible if students come and identify themselves for the scheme’ he told the Hindustani Times.

The first student to come forward, Dhananjay Chauhan Mangalmukhi, told the paper the board had made ‘crucial demands’.

‘Education is the way forward but how will we pay our fee when we are already disowned by our parents’.

Trans rights in India

India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized transgender identities as an official third gender.

Although the ruling recognized trans and non-binary Indians, they remain marginalized by society.

Transgender Indians slammed a trans rights bill currently in parliament.

They say it would impede their rights rather than protect them.

Significantly, the bill does not give the right for Indians to choose their own gender. Instead, they would be ‘inspected’ by authorities.