For the first time, a student identified herself as transgender enrolled in the University of Mumbai (MU). 32-year-old Sridevi (adopted name) who is an interior designer and make-up artist by profession is pursuing BA (psychology) at the Institue of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL). Although she has been a student at IDOL for the past one and half years, she decided to enrol herself as a transgender recently. Her decision comes after the University Grants of Commission (UGC) directed universities and colleges to treat transgenders as the third gender during the admission process. UGC also said that the third gender should also be considered during scholarship schemes and programmes. MU introduced a separate transgender column as added separately in addition to male and female columns in 2015-16. While there could be other students like her, Sridevi is the first to official enrol as transgender in Mumbai University.

Sridevi had a terrible childhood as she was confused about her gender identity and received no support from her own family. Adding to her pain she also faced abuse in school and sexual harassment in her locality. Along with financial crunch and mental trauma, she failed Class 12 which trashed her hopes for being a doctor. After two years she completed three-year interior designing and took a job as one. A trained Bharatnatyam dancer, she also owns a cosmetics shop. She also hopes that her example will motivate similar students for a better future. Hindustan Times quoted her as saying, “Unless you study, how will you get what you want. Education gives you an ability to think better and helps you adjust better in society.” India’s first transgender couple redefine love in this brilliant photoshoot

Sridevi today also urges schools and colleges to support transgender students. She does her bit for the third gender by suggesting counselling of parents. (Image Credits- Hindustan Times)