Published: 10th July 2019
This is an insult to the entire community: How transgenders are reacting to Pala college's stance on reservation
Alphonsa College, Pala, affiliated to the MG University recently approached the Kerala High Court, asking it to reconsider the transgender reservation
Kerala is generally known to be ahead of the other states when it came to transgender rights. In 2016, it came up with a welfare policy for the transgender community. In 2018, it became the first Indian state to introduce reservation for transgender students. Following the same, many colleges in the state, for the first time in history started admitting transgender students. But recently, a women's college in the state approached the High Court, asking it to re-examine the order, after refusing admission to transwomen.
The authorities of the MG University-affiliated Alphonsa College, Pala, said that the government hadn't kept in mind Article 15(3) and Article 30(1) of the Constitution, while formulating the policy. They have also apparently said that allowing transgenders in the college will be a threat to its security.
As anticipated, this move was welcomed with fury by the students and the transgender community. The transgender cell under the Social Justice Department, Kerala is also looking into the issue. We spoke to Shyama S Prabha, the cell's coordinator. A transwoman herself, Shyama sees this incident as an insult to the entire community. "I am not sad, but very angry. The college is just exhibiting fake morality here. When the university itself approves the reservation, how can the college say that it only allows cis females?" she asks. She also said that the government is adamant on its stand.
"In 2017, the same college invited two transwomen to deliver a lecture on transgender policy and rights. I don't think it created a security threat back then," says Shyama, pointing fingers at the irony of the situation. "Here, they're doing nothing, but declining a transwoman's right to education," she adds.
Shyama and her team are yet to speak to the college authorities. She is currently awaiting a letter from the Higher Education Department to submit a report to the High Court. The SFI has also condemned the move. A release issued by its President VP Sanu and Secretary Mayukh Biswas said, We express deep concern over the regressive action of authorities of Alphonsa College, Pala. We demand the college authorities to repeal their gender discriminating move and we strongly demand to uphold the constitutional right of equality in opportunity for all."
We were unable to reach the college authorities or the MG University VC for a comment on the same.