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An Indian supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community takes part in a Pride March in Mumbai on February 6, 2016. (PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

New frontier

School for transgender students, 1st of its kind in India, opens

By WITW Staff on January 3, 2017

A new school in the Indian city of Kochi that opened last week will cater specifically to the needs of transgender adults.

Sahaj International is the first school of its kind in India, according to the BBC. The institution will accept 10 students between the ages of 25 and 50, who dropped out of the mainstream school system because they faced discrimination. The curriculum will focus on preparing students for the Class 10 and 12 board exams, which are typically written during high school. The school will also offer some vocational training, and all teachers employed by Sahaj are transgender.

The school was founded by Kalki Subramaniam, also a transgender activist. It is located in the state of Kerala, which is the first Indian state to adopt a policy promoting inclusive education for transgender people. Kerala also offers free gender assignment surgeries at government hospitals.

India has made efforts in recent years to combat discrimination against the two million transgender people that reside within the country. In 2014, India’s Supreme Court officially recognized transgenderism, making transgender people eligible for the same job and education quotas that are granted to other minorities.

But hostility against India’s transgender community still runs deep. Many transgender people are shunned by their families and refused work, forcing them to take up prostitution as a means of survival.

Vijayraja Mallika, a transgender activist who heads the school, told the BBC that Sahaj International seeks to combat this marginalization by “making transgenders eligible for taking decent jobs and living a dignified life.” For more on the groundbreaking school, watch the video below.

Read the full story at the BBC.


Imagine never having to choose between male and female on any legal form