Transgender applicants in Maharashtra can now officially identify themselves in the application process as the third gender. The Directorate of Technical Education has introduced the third gender category for applicants of engineering and pharmacy courses for the session 2017.
The UGC had directed the universities and colleges to add the transgender options in the application form as a third gender category almost three years ago. Maharashtra DTE has implemented the category for admissions to the academic session 2017-18.
Earlier, individuals belonging to the transgender category had to identify themselves as either male or female in order to apply for the courses mentioned above.
Director of DTE, Dayanand Meshram said that they introduced the third category to provide a distinct identity to the transgender people who wish to pursue engineering or pharmacy courses.
Many equal rights activists have appreciated DTE’s move and have asked the government to protect the rights of transgender people. One of the activists, Harish Iyer, said that this should not be the only decision to encourage the transgender people.
The introduction to a third gender category in the application process will enhance the access to higher education. More steps must be taken to protect the rights of transgender students after they have joined the colleges, such as introducing separate toilets for transgender people, added Iyer.
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He also added that even though the move is encouraging, we must not feel content yet. He said that the basic rights of transgender people must not be ignored.