Kerala Launches Reservation for Transgender College Students
On Wednesday, in a victory for both societal inclusion and better education, Kerala became the first Indian state to introduce a higher education reservation policy for transgender students across all state universities and affiliated arts and science colleges, reports Hindustan Times.
All state and affiliated universities are now required to reserve two additional seats for transgender undergraduate applicants and/or post-graduate applicants who meet all other admission requirements. Furthermore, reads the order issued by the state’s department of higher education, educational institutions must ensure transgender students do not experience discrimination on campus, as “due to social issues and pressure these students are often forced to discontinue their studies.”
A senior education official said the withdrawal of transgender students due to discrimination has become a “trend that has to be stopped.”
This move comes ahead of a national discussion on transgender rights. The Transgender (Protection of Rights) Bill, which is up for consideration in the Parliament’s monsoon session, “directs all government funded or recognized educational institutions to provide inclusive education to transgender persons,” reports Hindustan Times.
Kerala is often lauded for its progressive policies concerning its transgender residents; in 2015 it was the first state to implement policy aimed at ending social stigma and discrimination around the gender identity. The Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) launched a continuing education program and housing program for transgender people earlier in the year.
But there is still a long way to go; also in June, in direct contravention of a 2014 Supreme Court order, the Kerala High Court ordered a transgender woman to take a psychological test to determine if she is, in fact, a transgender person.