Tiruchirapalli

School embraces transgender children with a hostel

A private school in Tiruchi has infused more meaning into inclusive education by initiating construction of a hostel to house transgender children on the campus.

The school has been admitting students with learning and behavioural disorders, and disabilities.

The idea for such a hostel struck the mind of the school correspondent, NRK Babu, a retired Major General, last year when a transgender student who was abandoned by family was brought to Sri Sivananda Balalaya (SSB) through Olga Aaron, who runs the Chennai-based NGO Bravo.

The school adopted the student who is now in class 11, thanks to the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

The student is also pursuing a separate course in Bharatnatyam.

“Though the school promotes stress-free education, dropout rate is still high among certain categories of students as they progress to higher classes. There are three reasons. The poor economic background of the family and loss of interest are apparent causes. But, there are also transgender children who lose their concentration in studies due to changes happening in their bodies,” Mr. Babu explained.

“At puberty when their voice changes or physical changes occur, transchildren do not know how to respond. To add to it, they are taunted, teased and abused by their peers. An exclusive hostel for them is a beginning. Societal change will take time,” says Ms. Aaron.

The transgender student was a litmus test to gauge the response of the other students. “The hostel plan was drawn and the Bhoomi pooja for the hostel with a capacity for 40 transgender students was done on Saturday. "The hostel will ensure that transgender children are not left on the streets and have a safe space to learn and grow. It will also ensure that they do not resort to begging. Around 10-15 years, we can expect educated, respected and accepted trans people," says Ms. Aaron.

The school is seeking to hand out scholarships and even assist the funding for sex reassignment surgeries for the students if and when they choose to do it.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:31:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/school-embraces-transgender-children-with-a-hostel/article28743587.ece

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