Kerala, a state in South India, has recently announced their new requirements for colleges and universities—the allotment of two additional seats reserved for transgender students.
Following a recommendation by the social justice department, this order was issued by the government’s department of higher education.
‘Social Justice Department has recommended and forwarded the request for issuing special order for reserving seats for Transgender Students for various courses in Universities and affiliated Arts and Science Colleges,’ the government order reads.
‘In the above circumstances, Government are pleased [to] sanction two additional seats in all courses in Universities and affiliated Arts and Science Colleges exclusively for admitting transgender students subject to the fulfillment of qualification,’ the Department of Higher Education stated.
‘The government is pleased to sanction two additional seats in all courses in Universities and affiliated Arts and Science colleges exclusively for admitting transgender students subject to fulfillment of qualification,’ Secretary MG Ranjith Kumar said in a statement.
This order has been issued to the presidents and registrars offices of multiple state universities including Kerala, Mahathma Gandhi, CUSAT, Calicut, Kannur, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, and Thunchathezhuthchan Malayalam Universities.
Trans people from Kerala react
Transgender people in Kerala welcomed this new order.
‘Higher Education Department of Kerala issues a GO (government order) asking all Higher Educational Institutions in the state to reserve two seats, for all courses across colleges and Universities, for Transgender Students. A few transgender students, who had applied for various courses in Ernakulam Maharajas College, couldn’t get through the merit based admission process. They then approached the state Social Justice Department, which along with other departments initiated this major step towards inclusive education,’ an LGBTI group in Kerala wrote on Facebook.
‘This will empower transgender students to conquer many heights. Often they are forced to discontinue their studies midway. It will also help them be open about their identity and rub shoulders with everyone,’ trans activist Raga Ranjini told The Hindustan Times.
Last month, the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) launched a new program that provides scholarship money and housing for trans students.
A survey conducted by KSLMA found that about 50% of trans people in the region live on a monthly income of 1,000 Rupees [$14.54; £10.94; €12.37] or less.