Published: 27th November 2017
Siddha College to reserve seat for transgender after Madras HC's landmark judgement
Tarika Banu will be allowed to get admitted to a Siddha College of her liking one week from now but Grace Banu says the fight is far from over
Chennai transgender activist Grace Banu's fight to secure a seat at a Siddha Medical College for her daughter has finally reached a happy ending. In a landmark judgment, the Madras High Court on Monday directed the Siddha colleges to reserve a seat for 20-year-old Tarika Banu and also strictly warned other educational institutions against discriminating against transgender students. You may remember Tarika as the first registered transgender to pass her XII board exam in Tamil Nadu in May this year.
Her efforts to set things right for Tarika will now impact hundreds of other transgenders who also dream of becoming doctors. "I am absolutely thrilled by the news, I just can't contain my happiness. We now have a cop, an engineer and a doctor. This was again a small fight, we have many, many more struggles ahead but successes like this are always sweet," Grace Banu said.
In a week from now, Tarika Banu can walk into any Siddha College and decide to study there. Activist Grace Banu had filed a case at the Madras High Court in early October. At the previous hearing, the court had asked the Siddha College representative why it was that despite a court order, the institute was still failing to recognise the third gender. The court demanded that the institute come up with reasons in the next hearing about why they had not considered Tarika as a potential candidate.
The Madras High Court had issued an order directed all institutions and companies to recognise transgenders as the third gender and mention a category for them in all forms and applications. Despite this order, many institutions continue to put this category on their applications, the same thing happened to Tarika as well
Seeing no other option, the mother-daughter duo decided to manually write down "transgender" as a category under the Gender section. However, Tarika did not find her name on the counselling list and Grace Banu feared it was because she was transgender. She turned out to be right.
But Grace Banu is determined to fight till there is reservation for transgenders in all institutions across the country, "I'm not going to stop till we see transgenders in all fields and are on an equal platform as everyone else."