Santosh Londhe, a proud degree holder from Mumbai University is the first recognised transgender student who has recently been graduated. The student, who goes by her adopted name Sridevi, was enrolled to the Mumbai University’s (IDOL) Institute of Distance and Open Learning four years ago. This happened when MU introduced a ‘third column for gender’ as per the directions of UGC (University Grants Commission).
Sridevi graduated from the University a month ago with a double major in Sociology and Psychology. Although Mumbai University may have had students from the transgender community, Sridevi was the first one to be officially enrolled under the community. Sridevi is passionate about education and in her wish to continue learning, she has enrolled for a masters degree in Psychology from IGNOU (Indira Gandhi Nation Open University).
Sridevi makes a living by running a beauty parlour and her past experiences as an interior designer show that she is an art enthusiast. Currently, Sridevi works in an electronics’ firm at day time and teaches underprivileged kids during in the evening in an NGO in Malad. Along with her tight schedule, Sridevi also advocates the idea of gender sensitisation. Now, she is planning to venture into the business world to set an example for the trans community.
Talking to a news agency, Sridevi said that she aspired to become a doctor, but lack of funding became a barrier to her education. Talking about her struggles, she said that she grew up in a small house in Mumbai, which became even more crowded after her brother got married. She had to move out and rent an apartment, which became a big challenge for her.
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Sridevi trains Bharatnatyam and also likes to spend her leisure time in gardening. She says that it keeps her positive. She is now working on preparing herself to solve queries of her trans fellows via online platforms.
Maharashtra was the first state in India to establish a cultural institute that is completely dedicated to the trans community. It was also the second state in the country to set up a welfare board for the community. Despite the judicial judgements and initiatives, the trans community remains to be on the fringes of development. With more inspiring stories like that of Sridevi’s, the community will foster its significance in the country.
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