Kerala: Being discriminated, tran-woman stops schooling

A 21-year old trans-woman in Kerala has stopped higher secondary education at a government school at Kasargod in North Kerala, allegedly due to harassment from students and teachers. She also alleges discrimination from family.

Nivedhiya, hailing from Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, is facing the ordeal. A member of the scheduled tribe community, Nivedhiya, has now taken shelter at a cell for transgender persons in Thiruvananthapuram. She is planning to take up her plight with higher-ups in the government.

Nivedhiya told DH that she got admission at the Government Model Residential Higher Secondary School for Girls at Kasargod last year, through a special order of the government, as she was forced to discontinue study at schools in Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur owing to harassment. She was even allowed a special room in the hostel.

"Over the last several months I was suffering mental torture and discrimination from teachers and students and was even kept off cultural activities. Though I complained to the school authorities and the Kerala Government Scheduled Tribe department, there was no relief. I was even forced to attempt suicide and even then the police also did not enquire the reason. Hence I was forced to leave the school last week," Nivedhiya said.

Nivedhiya also alleged that the school authorities forced her to give in writing that she was leaving the school at her own wish. Since she faced discrimination from her family too, Nivedhiya came down to her ancestral home in Pathanamthitta and stayed there for a few days. But after her father insisted she not stay there, she took shelter at the TG Cell in Thiruvananthapuram.

"I did schooling up to tenth by not disclosing my real gender. I got higher secondary admission after knocking at the doors for a long time and even lost a few years. Hence, I have a strong desire to complete my higher secondary studies. I would take up my matter again with the higher-ups in the government," a much determined Nivedhiya said.

Kerala ST Development Department director P Pugazhendi said that the government was seriously looking into the concerns expressed by Nivedhiya. "Already we have given all possible support like a separate hostel room. But she seemed to be facing some sort of teasing from some students. We would try to arrange counselling and special tuition to her so that she can complete her studies," he said.

The school authorities maintained that there was no harassment towards Nivedhiya. But she was irregular in attending classes.

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