NCPCR issues notice to NCERT on transgender inclusion manual

Prof. Sridhar Srivastava, Director of NCERT

Prof. Sridhar Srivastava, Director of NCERT | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Following a Right-wing backlash on social media and a complaint from a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak , the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a notice to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) regarding its new training manual on inclusion of transgender children in schools.

Vinay Joshi, a former RSS pracharak and activist against fraudulent religious conversions, made the complaint to NCPCR, alleging that the manual was a “criminal psychologically traumatise school students under the name of gender sensitisation”.

The main issues of contention were the manual’s recommendation to use gender-neutral toilets and remove gender binaries in school infrastructure and processes. “Such an approach will expose children to unnecessary psychological trauma due to contradictory environments at home and in school,” said the NCPCR notice. The manual’s suggestion to teachers to discuss the availability of puberty blockers or hormone treatments for adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria also came in for criticism.

NCERT was asked to “take appropriate action in rectifying the anomalies in the document”, verify the background and qualifications of the drafting committee members, and apprise the Commission of action taken within seven days.

The manual itself is no longer available on the NCERT’s website. The Department for Gender Studies, which produced the publication, deflected all queries to NCERT’s Director Sridhar Srivastava, who did not respond to The Hindu ’s request for a comment.

“There is respect for LGBTQ individuals in Indian society. But when nature has given you certain genders, trying to convince students that they might not be the same gender to which they are born is just tampering and interfering with the natural process,” Mr. Joshi told The Hindu . “If an individual student is intersex or feels any gender confusion, they can get the medical and psychological help that is needed. But it is absurd to create senseless confusion in a whole generation of young people in this way.”

Mr. Joshi, who is a resident of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, said his complaint was made on behalf of a group of activists and pro bono lawyers working under the banner of the Legal Rights Observatory (LRO). The LRO has been responsible for activism against religious conversion, alleged persecution of Hindus, and indigenous communities in north-eastern India, and at least 250 complaints to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the alleged misuse of foreign funds to NGOs, he said.

On Monday, NCERT was trending for a brief period on Twitter after Right-wing website OpIndia posted an article on the manual, accusing the council of becoming “woke”. It also objected to an introductory section in the manual, which referenced the acceptance of gender diversity in the Vedic age and blamed caste patriarchy for the stigmatisation of transgender people.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 8:16:56 am |