Published: 30th July 2019
Meet Nadira, the first transgender to enroll for a Master's degree under the Kerala Govt's transgender quota
Nadira Mehrin joined the college on July 29. She is also an active member of the AISF, which recently started a unit in the college
Nadira Mehrin left her home three years back, right after she completed class XII. That was around the same time that she came out as a transgender to her family. Not only was the family unable to accept her sexuality, but they also took her to a doctor multiple times to treat the 'disorder'. She was only 16 then.
Fast forward three years. Today, Nadira is a first-year MA Political Science student at University College, Thiruvananthapuram. She is also the first transgender to get admission to a Master's course under the Kerala government's transgender reservation. "I always wanted to study in this college. But I somehow missed the deadline while applying for BA," she says.
Nadira is a journalism graduate. What could be the reason behind her choosing Political Science for her Master's, we wondered. She says, "I think it's important to give a lot of importance to the socio-political issues around us. It is even more important for people like me. We do not have any political representatives from our community. But in our country, politics is the major step towards acceptance," she says.
Apart from that, this 19-year-old also wants to make sure that more transgender students get educated. "Even after I left home, my major goal in life was to study. I never skipped an academic year. Education has to be everyone's primary aim," she says. "My family never accepted me as a woman, but a few of them helped me study. The transgender community was supportive too. Also, I received the Kerala government's scholarship, which made things easier," she says.
Being the only transgender student in the college, she now uses the women's toilet. She doesn't feel the need for a toilet for transgenders in the college, but if the college is up for the construction of a gender-neutral toilet, she will be the happiest person on earth.
We say Democracy
An active member of the All India Students' Federation (AISF), Nadira has another aim too — to democratise the campus, which has been an SFI bastion for the past 18 years. AISF recently opened its unit in the college, after the former SFI unit was dissolved, following a series of violent incidents. "I feel happy to be part of the AISF unit here. Ours is an attempt to restore democracy here. It is any day better than autocracy," says this AISF Thiruvananthapuram District Committee member. "Our unit here doesn't have many members. Most students here are SFI members and that cannot be changed overnight. It is difficult for another party to establish themselves," she adds.
At the same time, she says that the new SFI unit members greeted her. She is obviously happy about it. The same applies for her classmates too. "They're very welcoming. The friendships that I see here are the ones without any gender bias," she says.