Mumbai: College admission forms to accept third gender option

The move follows the SC granting independent status to the third gender and UGC opening up scholarships to the transgender community

After much discussion, city colleges are finally warming up to the third gender. This year, some of the top city colleges will make way for the option of a third gender in their admission forms. So this admissions season, many admission forms will have three options under gender male, female and others.

HR College has included a provision for a third gender in its form
HR College has included a provision for a third gender in its form

While most colleges are yet to incorporate changes into their forms, HR College in Churchgate has already printed forms with this addition. CHM College in Ulhasnagar too has incorporated the changes and the management is awaiting the freshly printed forms.

This move comes after a Supreme Court order granting independent status to the third gender, following which the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2014 opened up all its scholarships to the third gender, and also encouraged universities and colleges to follow suit.

“Transgender is a distinct identity and unique presence on the socio-cultural map of the country. We can’t ignore the fact that much remains to be done in order to ameliorate the discrimination and deprivation suffered by the transgender community in Indian society,” states the circular, dated February 2, 2015.

While most city colleges stated that they have not yet received any circular from the university, a handful of colleges have taken the initiative. University officials have stated that the purpose is to ensure that the stigma around the third gender (hijra/transgender) community fades away.

“Even though other institutes were waiting for the UGC and University of Mumbai to make this statement, we had incorporated the changes in our admission forms last year itself,” said Indu Shahani, principal of HR College.

The Supreme Court, in a judgment dated April 15, 2014, had asked the Centre to treat transgenders as socially and economically backward and that they will be allowed admission in educational institutions, and given employment on the basis that they belonged to the third gender category.

Colleges were also asked to construct separate toilets for transgenders within their campus. The aim was to work around the social stigma surrounding this community. “Apart from infrastructure, the need of the hour is to sensitise the college to be open to this change.

We have sensitised the office staff that they should accept forms from transgenders and also created awareness with the registrar and his staff,” added Shahani.

Colleges Concur
Many other colleges have also agreed to bring about similar changes in their forms as well as on their campus. In January this year, CHM College in Ulhasnagar organised a two-day national seminar on ‘Literary oeuvre of Gulzar’ and their forms had male, female and transgender, against details sought on gender.

“Our admission forms are still in the process of being printed, but we ensured that appropriate changes have been made to the forms. The third gender has been included under the category where students mention their gender,” said Padma Deshmukh, principal of CHM College.

When mid-day contacted Manju Nichani, principal of KC College, she added that they had not received any circular on the same. “Since our admission forms for this year have already been printed, we will ensure the changes are made henceforth,” added Nichani.

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