Education is a fundamental right that every individual is entitled to irrespective of their religion, caste, gender, status, etc. Unfortunately, it has become a privilege enjoyed by a few. India has come a long way since the dark ages and has endeavored to cut cords with the evils of the past. Even so, there are still a few who’ve chosen to keep their minds clouded out of ignorance and adamance. The evil of discrimination based on gender still lurks within our country and even prevents people from getting what is rightfully theirs.
The transgender community has existed since the beginning of human life and has a rich socio-cultural history. In recent times, owing to changes that have occurred, the transgender community has been able to successfully achieve things that they should have ages ago. Yet, many things are left to be done to achieve true equality.
The term “transgender” can be referred to as an umbrella term that includes binary trans men and women, non-binary people, gender-queer persons, and gender-non-conforming people. To be precise, they are people who no longer identify themselves with the gender they were born with, which leads to the feeling of “gender dysphoria.” Even though we have witnessed a wave of positive change in recent times, transgender people still face the same discrimination and are treated as outcasts. They are even deprived of basic rights that every human being enjoys simply by being a human.
India has attained growth and development over the years, but studies show that the transgender community is still lagging in important areas such as education. It is even more disturbing that even after several steps have been taken, their condition remains the same, and many from the community remain uneducated or under-educated. Lack of education keeps them excluded from participating in important social, political, and economic activities. Their plight and the perpetual discrimination, hatred, exclusion from society, and sometimes even from their own homes, keep them vulnerable and helpless and restrict them from participating in educational activities.
The transgender community has been subjected to various social evils such as exclusion from society, ridicule, and bullying. They struggle with the stigmas they face daily. Steps have been taken to include them in mainstream development, but we know that this is a significant failure at places where they have no protection from abuse and exploitation, which results in them being deprived of education. Such circumstances make them reluctant to continue their education.
Even if they show interest in pursuing their studies, they face such extreme bullying and discrimination at educational institutions from other classmates and even teachers that they either choose to drop out or are kicked out of schools. Needless to say, measures should be taken to eradicate the evil of discrimination from society and ensure that the transgender community has access to all the provisions made for them.
It is truly saddening to see the same evils prevalent in our society since times immemorial, such as referring to transgenders by incorrect pronouns or humiliating names is a form of sadistic mockery that our society enjoys. It is even glorified in movies in the form of comedy.
They even face difficulties in availing the most basic provisions made for each student at educational institutions. For example, a transgender person might prefer using a bathroom that is meant for the gender they conform to, but they face humiliation even in doing so.
Due to a lack of awareness, transgender people also live in constant fear of their families and remain closeted all their lives which is truly disheartening. It is as if a bird that is meant to fly in the open sky is caged within a steel cage. All this torture affects their mental and physical development, and they are left feeling alone. There are few cities in India where there is almost no awareness regarding the transgender community. Due to a lack of information, transgender youth are propelled into a world of disillusionment and often face identity crises that hinder their overall growth.
Written by: Rituparna