Published: 05th June 2019
Chennai’s Loyola College gives free admission to two transgender students in a remarkable step to promote inclusivity
Pioneering the cause of the youth from the transgender community, Chennai's Loyola College has taken a landmark step this academic year. Read to find out more
Taking a massive leap forward to promote inclusivity, Chennai’s prestigious Loyola College made headlines recently for providing two transgender students with free admission this academic year. The commendable move is a testament to the college’s long journey of uplifting the young transgender community by providing a platform for education and employment.
Loyola College’s Director of Media Relations, Rev Father Justin Prabhu says that over the years, around five transgender students have graduated from the college through their scholarships. However, while those were sporadic cases, this year, the college is celebrating the admission of two students into its undergraduate programme for the first time under the new initiative. R Diya, 23, who will pursue her Bachelor’s in French, says that Loyola was her dream college. Mirthulla, who signed up for BBM Animation, aims to become a trans model and inspire others in the transgender community to pursue their dreams through quality education.
Father Justin Prabhu informs that the students will be funded through the scholarship right from the start, covering their tuition fee. He adds that the students admitted are all meritorious and were brought to the college’s attention by NGOs such as Sahodaran, Thozhi and Indian Transgender Initiative. This year will also see another transgender student, Naleena Prasheetha, finish her Master’s in Visual Communication from the college after joining the institution for her undergraduate studies in 2015. “The college has made me who I am today. I’d go as far as saying it has been like my mother. I feel at home here because I can be myself,” says Naleena, who is the first transgender student to pursue both undergraduate and postgraduate courses from the college.
Apart from providing such scholarships, Loyola College has a long history of fortifying the transgender community through various initiatives. Rev Father Justin Prabhu, whose PhD thesis is incidentally centered around 'Transgender and Political Communication', says, “We are doing grassroots work while also lobbying with the government to negotiate policies for the community. We received approval for the construction of 250 houses for the transgender community from the then Jayalalithaa government.” Crediting the transgender community for leading and organising projects such as annual seminars and events to honour and recognise inspiring trans-persons and allies, Rev Father Prabhu states that Loyola College has lent its support to the same cause while working to make the college a safe place for all sections of society to seek education.