While the mainstream society is yet to embrace equal rights for the transgender community, Kerala, as always, is one step ahead of all as the state government declared of special reservations for the transgender community in educational sector – reserving two seats in each course for transgender students in colleges of Kerala.
Transgender and homosexual community has always been the left-out part of the society; albeit western side of the world is embracing the special group of people and legalizing their rights, it is still a taboo in India – except for one state – Kerala. It was in 2015 when Kerala established a transgender policy aimed to empower the transgender community and provided shelters to transgender people who joined the state’s Literacy Mission. After that, the Indian state has introduced a number of special rights and empowerment programs for the betterment of the transgender community.
However, State Transgender Justice Board had filed a complaint to the Social Justice Department regarding the difficulties faced by transgender students while seeking college admissions. According to a survey, over 50 % dropped out at some point, either in primary or secondary education due to social or psychological reasons. Citing the problem, the Social Justice Department had stated that ” due to societal issues these students often have to discontinue their studies or to join other academic institutions after an academic year or after the admission process is closed” and started taking measures to resolve the problem. For example, the literacy mission authority has started a special literacy aid program for transgender recently, by which a monthly scholarship of up to Rs 1,250 and a residence are provided.
Effectively, the Kerala government introduced special reservation for the transgender community in educational sector – reserving two seats in each course for transgender students in all colleges across the state. Not only will this open up doors of quality education for transgender students, but it will also bring about more involvement of transgender people in society, eradicate the taboo and bring about equality among the genders. Sheethal Shyam, state president of a charitable society for transgender in Kerala said, “I am so happy to be in a progressive state where the government and public join hands to incorporate gender minorities into the society’s mainstream”.