Anna University admits transgender in engg course

Anna University admits transgender in engg course

Grace Banu is a student of engineering. Nothing exceptional here, but for the fact that she is a transgender who overcame much discrimination and many hurdles to script a new chapter in Tamil Nadu by securing an engineering seat in Anna University.

She obtained her admission to the Electrical and Electronics Engineering (lateral entry) course through counselling held recently at Alagappa College in Sivaganga district's Karaikudi.

“I never thought I would get admission. It is really a surprise. I might perhaps be the first transgender in the country to be admitted to an engineering course,” Banu told Deccan Herald.

She said she had planned to approach the court for admission if she did not get any information from the university.

A plus-two dropout, Banu, whose parents distanced themselves from her when she was 17, wanted to continue her studies after receiving encouragement from several transgender associations in the state.

“I realised some changes taking place within me during my plus-two studies. Circumstances led me to attempting suicide by consuming poison. My teachers and classmates came to know about my suicide bid and the reason behind it, and started avoiding me. At one stage, I was not even allowed to enter school. So, I discontinued my studies,” she said.

Born and brought up in Tuticorin district, Banu joined a diploma course in computer engineering at Kovilpatti soon after clearing her school exams. “Though my parents had distanced themselves from me, they encouraged me after I joined the diploma course, where I scored about 95 per cent,” said Banu, who, during her school days, had nurtured ambitions of becoming a doctor. Anna University sources said Banu, who obtained admission for second year, was the only transgender to attend the counselling session.

Though Banu got a seat in the self-financing Sri Krishna College of Engineering near Arakkonam, she regrets not getting admission in a government college. Hailing the recent Supreme Court judgment that a person can be legally recognised as gender-neutral, and that transgenders should be included in government welfare schemes offered to other minority groups, Banu said it should be implemented in all the states.

As for herself, she said, “I will pursue a postgraduate course after this.”  It may be noted that in what is claimed to be the first such instance in Tamil Nadu, six transgenders were recruited as Home Guards in the Madurai district in 2013.

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