Acknowledging their difference, premier national law schools will include an 'Others' category for transgenders in application forms from the next academic year.
National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore Vice-Chancellor Prof. R. Venkata Rao told TOI this was an important move in the area of human rights. "During interaction with transgenders, they pointed out that in application forms, it was always Male or Female in the gender category but there's no mention of Transgenders or Others. This got us thinking."
The idea of including 'Others' in applications will be placed before the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) committee. "We planned to include it this year itself but CLAT forms had already been issued. The proposal will be put before the committee which may meet in October or November and see that adequate space is given to them," Venkata Rao said. If transgenders apply, they will be selected based on merit.
Law schools will counsel students who will study with transgenders. "Students should laugh with others, not at others. That will be our motto," he added.
While national law schools are thinking of this move, Bangalore University (BU) already issues application forms with the change. BU vice-chancellor N Prabhu Dev said some transgenders have a high IQ but unfortunately hesitate to pursue higher education as they fear discrimination in the society.
While Karnataka is waking up to this idea, the University of Mumbai was way ahead of the others. It allows transgenders to join any course they want. Most are enrolled in distance learning programmes for the Commerce stream. "The objective is access to all," said the University's Deputy Registrar A Rathod. Tamil Nadu is the first State in the country to accord official status to the third sex.