South Indian education institutes prioritize Trans-inclusion and introduce gender-neutral uniforms for all

A lower primary school in Kerala introduces gender-neutral uniform for all students while Kasturba Medical College plans to take step to include transgender in medical institution.

Slowly, but the Indian education system is taking steps to build gender-equitable infrastructure. As the ever-growing debate about the topic tried to fuel trans-phobia amongst students and parents, some education institutions are taking steps for their inclusion in the formal education process.

Kasturba Medical College in Manipal is currently planning steps to include transgender people in its campus and hospital, said Dean Dr Sharath Kumar Rao in the Transcare Campus Connect event.

On the other hand, some sections of society are irked by the utterance of gender-neutral infrastructure in schools in the NCERT teacher training material. Despite all this, a school in southern India has introduced a gender-neutral uniform for all students.

Steps to include transgender people

The decision taken by the KMC, Manipal, was in the lines of the recent Madras and Kerala High Court verdicts and a directive from the National Medical Commission. The court verdicts have asked schools and colleges to create inclusive teaching material in medical education. Authorities have also highlighted that how the current medical curriculum content derogates the LGBTQIA+ community.

The event was organised in partnership with the TransCare MedEd team and a booklet titled ‘Colours Among Us’ was also released by Dr Rao.

“The medical curriculum does not equip students to provide sensitive care to transgender persons. It desensitizes them, and many doctors currently provide care that is coloured by discrimination, stigma, and abuse,” said Dr Kirtana R Nayak, chief organizer of the event and Head of the Department of Medical Education, KMC Manipal in a media release.

Dr Sharath Kumar Rao said while highlighting how institutes like KMC Manipal and university campuses such as MAHE must take leadership in this regard, “If not now, when? If not us, who?.” He spoke about the role and efforts taken by the institute in the inclusion of the disabled community. Dr Rao said that a similar initiative will be taken towards trans inclusion through consultations and dialogue in a time-bound manner.

Dr Aqsa Shaikh, a leading trans advocate, a community medicine specialist, and a transgender woman, also spoke during the event. Citing examples from her own life, she asserted the need for trans-inclusion and sensitization since early school days and said: “Unfortunately, parents often become the enemy of the child. Gender is often forced on a child based on their sex assigned at birth. Parents need to talk about gender with their children. Campuses need to enable conversations and inclusion.”

Kerala school introduces gender-neutral uniform

Valayanchirangara government Lower Primary School in Ernakulam district has introduced a gender-neutral uniform for all its students – a shirt and 3/4th shorts.

Kerala’s General Education minister, V Sivankutty has said it was an admirable move by the Valayanchirangara LP school. The government will promote such moves further. He tweeted, “Ideas of gender justice, equality and awareness will be emphasised during curriculum reform. But these lessons need not be restricted to textbooks. The admirable move by Valayanchirangara LP School. Students of all genders will now wear the same uniform here – short pants & shirts.”

Girl students out of 754 kids studying in that school are facing no issues with the uniform that also has pockets for them. Parents are also happy and have told the media that their kids can run and play around without any worries.

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