Despite having introduced the “other” gender category in Delhi University in its application form in 2015, none of the colleges has seen any aspirant taking admission under this category. While DU officials say no particular reason can be pointed out, members of the transgender community claim widespread discrimination on campus deters students from taking admission in regular colleges.
“Even though Delhi University has a queer campus, members of the community are afraid of the experiences. There have been multiple instances where one has faced discrimination on campus itself. While on a policy level, DU has included the ‘other’ category, there is a lack of sensitivity on the administration level. Often lack of a grievance cell makes matters worse,” said activist Abhina Aher. “Aspirants are asked uncomfortable questions by the staff. If indeed DU wants to make an inclusive campus, why are they not hiring someone from our community at the administration level so that the aspirants are made to feel welcome,” asked Ms Aher.
Rihana Yadav, a B.A. Programme student talks about her experience at the School of Open Learning under DU, said, “The biggest problem we face is related to our names. Despite submitting relevant documents, the administration continues to categorise us under our previous gender. Discrimination on campus is so widespread that many aspirants make other people submit the forms and feel comfortable with distance learning to avoid the insensitivity that they are subjected to on a daily basis.”
While 83 successful registrations took place under the category last year, this year saw only 29 applications. Gurpreet Singh Tuteja, Deputy Dean Students’ Welfare of DU, said that aspirants often erroneously register under the “other” category. Mr.Tuteja said,“While every year we see a number of registrations in the ‘other’ category, there is a lack of admissions under the category. It is difficult to ascertain the reason because often we see aspirants make an error while filling the forms.”
Assuring adequate infrastructure in the college, Gyantosh Jha, principal of Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, said, “Even though the provision is there, no student has come to take admission [under the ‘other’ category] so far. We are ready to make infrastructural changes as per the requirements.”