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Transgender student bullied, expelled from Assam school over swimsuit pics; family appeals to Chief Minister

'My daughter, with dreams as vast as the Brahmaputra, has faced the heights of discrimination and prejudice. Yet, she stands unwavering, aspiring to contribute to society..,' the mother of the transgender girl said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 06:50 IST

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A 17-year-old transgender girl was bullied, then expelled from her school after she allegedly posted her pictures from her family vacation, in a swimsuit on her social media.

The school principal reportedly objected to the social media pictures quoting them as 'vulgar' and 'disgusting and shameful'. The principal had called the parents of the transgender girl to school a day after she posted the pictures and said, "Your daughter is disgusting and shameful. Come tomorrow and take her out of my school," her mother recalls.

The principal reportedly told the mother that the pictures of the girl in the swimsuit were "expressing vulgarity", the school earned a "bad name" and could not tolerate "such behaviour''. The principal also added that the school is merely asking that the posts be taken down and not targeting the child.

The Times Of India quoted the principal saying that the message is conveyed to the parents, and body piercing, tattoos, etc. are against the school rules. Posting obscene photos on social media is not desired. "We told them they could delete the photos and start behaving properly or withdraw the student from the school."

Reportedly, the pictures were shared on social media on June 10, during the Pride Month and the parents were called to the school just a day after. As per the child's mother, the principal "targeted her (child's) truth of very being" and asked her to remove the pictures from social media or leave the school.

Followed by the incident, the child's mother from Guwahati wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma, where she recounted how social media pictures ignited bullying against her daughter, eventually leading to demands of her expulsion from the school. She highlighted the school's dismissal of gender-inclusivity concerns.

TOI reported they had access to the mother's letter to the CM, which said, "My girl child, born in a male body, didn't choose this life of struggle where she is being bullied and hated for who she is... the recent incident at her school in Assam has shaken the core of our faith in institutions meant to protect and nurture our young... The school, which should be a sanctuary of learning, became an arena of judgment... This is the plight of my daughter, a plight shared by many, often silenced by the shadows of ignorance."

"My daughter, with dreams as vast as the Brahmaputra, has faced the heights of discrimination and prejudice. Yet, she stands unwavering, aspiring to contribute to society..," she added in the letter.

"The phone call at night from the principal was a stark reminder of the battles we still face. Her social media, a space of personal expression, was scrutinised and slandered. A family pool outing, a moment of innocent joy, was twisted into a weapon of shame just because my daughter wore a bikini," the letter said.

"We asked for a transfer certificate from the school after she was shamed and subjected to mental harassment. We decided to keep her away from such a toxic environment," her mother said.

The mother also demanded a public apology from the school. If the transfer certificate is delayed or denied in the middle of the session, it could force the child to forfeit the entire academic year.

The family has reportedly asked the CM for changes into the system -- like gender-inclusive uniforms in schools for protection against bullying and harassment.

On June 26, the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) took up the matter after the state's Transgender Welfare Board flagged it.

During the hearing, ASCPCR reportedly said, "We heard the complainant and would now summon school authorities. After hearing both the parties, we would convene on a specific date. Thereafter, legal action would be initiated," Commission chairperson Shyamal Prasad Saikia said.

TOI also quoted the transgender girl, who said, "I am delighted that transgenders will now raise their voice for liberty and fairness. They glanced at my photos but failed to acknowledge my academic achievements." The girl had passed class 10 with 76 per cent aggregate.

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Published 01 July 2024, 06:50 IST

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