Published: 29th January 2020
In historic first, Kerala's MG University introduces transgender category in sporting events
The University's Vice-Chancellor says that they will soon open a school for gender studies and provide more opportunities to transgender students
Kerala's Mahatma Gandhi University from now on will have a separate category for its transgender students in sporting events. This was decided by the university's Vice-Chancellor Dr Sabu Thomas and syndicate members in a meeting that they conducted with the student representatives. Previously, the university, like all the other universities in the country held sporting events only for cis men and cis women.
"Using his rights laid down by the Mahatma Gandhi University Act 1985, Section 3.10(7), the Vice-Chancellor has permitted a separate section for the transgender students of the university, in sporting events [sic]," reads the circular. Talking to Edexlive about the same, Dr Thomas says, "We want to give equal opportunity to all. We understand the difficulty that the transgender students go through on a daily basis."
He adds that the university will soon start a school on gender studies. "We already gave a proposal to the government of Kerala. We wanted to solve their issues. The university follows an inclusive policy," he says.
In 2018, the Kerala government was the first in the country to introduce reservation for transgender students. The universities were then asked to reserve two seats for transgender students in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and to ensure that these students aren't discriminated against. That year, seven transgender students joined the university.
We also spoke to Avanthika, a transgender BA History student in the MGU-affiliated CMS College Kottayam. "This is a historic move," she says. "Ours is a third gender and therefore we need a separate category in sporting events, just the way cis men and cis women have. I hope that this category introduced in cultural fests too," she says. She also claims that the SFI was behind this proposal. "I'd like to laud the organisation for this move. We expect this solidarity from everyone around us," she says.