INDIA: A year ago, Tharika Banu was sceptical. She wasn’t sure if she could complete her school education as most educational institutions she approached had refused her admission, because they didn’t know if it would be right to admit a transgender.
“The usual reply was, ‘we do not have any right or regulation to admit a transgender. It has never happened before and we cannot take a risk now,’” recalled Tharika, a native of Thoothukudi district, who currently lives in Kodambakkam with two other transgenders.
“But I did not lose hope and requested the authorities to help me get admission. Finally, my prayers were answered,” said Tharika, who later got admitted in a government girls higher secondary school. She opted for the science stream as she wanted to become a surgeon. “But it was very difficult,” she said.
Tharika passed the final exam with a score of 537. While she is not entirely satisfied with the result, she is happy to have written the exam, which she claims continues to be a far cry for many transgenders. “I was going through a rough phase when I had to drop out of school. I’m sure most transgenders go through similar experiences. But all we need is equal opportunity,” she said.
Tharika is currently preparing for the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board exam, scheduled to be held later this month. “I am slightly nervous but thankful for being allowed to sit for the exam. I hope more transgenders are given an equal chance so that they too can start their lives from where they left,” she said.