Published: 17th October 2017
First transgender to finish +2 in TN, Tarika Banu moves HC after being denied med seat to study Siddha
Tarika was in the news for finishing school as a 'transgender'. Now, she hasn't been given the seat she applied for, so she's fighting to get what she believes is hers by right. Will she win?
Transgender rights activist Grace Banu has filed a case in Madras High Court to fight for her daughter, Tarika Banu who has been denied a seat in a Siddha college. You may recall that Tarika was the first transgender in Tamil Nadu to finish her twelfth standard, registering for the exam and writing it as a transgender.
Grace Banu alleges that Tarika was denied a seat because she is a transgender, specifically since the gender category wasn't even an option on the application form.
Two months ago when 20-year old Tarika Banu, a transgender, bought an application to apply for Siddha College, she found that there was no box for her to tick under 'Gender'. College authorities failed to come up with a valid reason as to why and preferred to remain quiet. With no other choice, Tarika manually wrote 'transgender' on the application. But neither did she, nor her mother think that an admission was possible in a college that clearly did not recognize transgenders despite a High Court order to include the category on all college applications.
Fighting prejudice: Grace Banu and Tarika Banu at their house just after Tarika's 12th results got out
Unfortunately, they were right. Tarika wasn't called in for counselling and why wasn't a question that needed too much thought. Yet again, the system had failed the transgender community but this wasn't new to Grace Banu, Tarika's adoptive mother, who had decided earlier on that she would go to court if Tarika didn't get a seat. "It was pretty obvious from the beginning that she won't get a seat but we were still hoping that the counselling authorities would recognise the error and do the needful. So we decided to take this matter to court," Grace said.
At the hearing earlier this week, the court sought an explanation from the admission authorities who asked the court for some time to come up with a decision. The court has given the authorities time till October 23 but has also directed them to keep one seat on hold. The Siddha college counselling was held between October 11-14.
Grace Banu is positive about the outcome of the case, "Besides the High Court, the UGC has also said that transgenders should be included on college applications. So I'm confident the court will ensure Tarika gets a seat. We won't stop fighting till that happens. There are so many cases that I've filed in court on various transgender-related, this is just another one. Looks like we can only get even our basic rights by taking it to court," she said.