Lecturer faces backlash over remarks on women, transpersons

Lecturer faces backlash over remarks on women, transpersons

A college lecturer-turned-student counsellor has set off a controversy in Kerala with offensive remarks directed at women and transpersons, leading the state government to intervene.

Rajith Kumar, a junior lecturer in Botany at the Sree Sankara College in Kalady, said during an event in Kasaragod that women who dress like men give birth to transgenders.

He also contended that autism and cerebral palsy among children could be traced to parents who act against traits identified with their respective genders.

"Women who wear men's clothes... think about it, what would be their children's nature?" he asks a crowd in video footage of the event and answers himself, "They will be transgenders or napunsakam, hijra. Today, we have more than six lakh in Kerala."

Kumar asserts, with claims of scientific backing, that procreation becomes "flawed" when the man and woman involved don't think or act like man and woman.

Kumar, a regular presence in counselling/awareness sessions for students, went on to defend his claims during a recent television discussion. Experts, transpersons and mothers of autistic children present among the studio audience countered his defence, further fuelling the controversy on social media.

Kumar remained defiant and dismissed the backlash as an uninformed outrage. "Did you see the video in full? It's a four-hour session where I talk about a lot of things and what I say about how clothes worn by men and women influence the birth of their children is backed with scientific evidence," he told DH on Wednesday.

The lecturer with a doctorate in Microbiology said his intention was to highlight how wearing tighter clothes could make women "think" like men, eventually creating genetic disorders for their children. "Food, clothes, the technology we use, these are all factors and it has been scientifically proved," he said.

Kumar said he delivered the talk at least a year ago, in Kanhangad, and it was being re-circulated to create a controversy.

The CPM-led state government doesn't appear amused. Minister for Health K K Shailaja has spoken against Kumar's presence in state-supported awareness events. She said the government is planning to take legal action against him.

 

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