We have been celebrating Pride Month for almost twenty years now. This year too, we helped in raising awareness about the rights of the LGBTQIA communities, and yet again, we failed in making them feel like equals. Our education system proudly presents that we empower LGBTQ+ rights, yet fail to administer the scrutiny and abuse that gay and transgender people go through in the process.
This year, there has been a spike in the pass percentage of both 10th and 12th standard students but at the same time, there has been a decrease in the pass percentage of transgender students across the nation, majorly because there were only 25 students who were able to go past this scrutiny and appear for the final exams in the first place. In India, there is a population of about 4,87,803 transgender. In the year 2011, there were 54,854 transgender students under the age of six. It is horrifying to see that there were only 25 students courageous enough to sit through the exam and pass it without having to face the gender-biased criteria.
Bullying of people based on whether or not they belong to the suppressed classes of society has been a widely common phenomenon across the country. Many of the transgender students came forward to share their experiences of being discriminated against and bullied in school by their teachers as well as their classmates, which led them to drop off of school eventually. These incidents highlight the lack of sensitivity and awareness that our educational institutions have in the present times.
Lastly, it’s the binary form of division within the school premises, which has led to the transgender feel like an outsider in their schools. From our school uniforms to our washrooms, from seating arrangements in our primary school years to not even acknowledging the existence of transgender people, we are directly and indirectly impacting their mental health to a great extent. This gender discrimination and avoidance of a whole community are eventually leading to an increase in the high school dropout rates.
After knowing the facts and figures, are we that liberated yet? Do we still deserve to celebrate pride month, when even today LGBTQ+ community is facing discrimination in their day-to-day lives? What can be done on our end to achieve equality and justice for the LTBTQ+ community?