New Delhi’s transgender students now eligible for free schooling

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Transgender students in New Delhi, India now qualify for free tuition in public schools due to their “disadvantaged” status.

On October 15, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung said that because transgender children belong to a “disadvantaged category,” under the nation’s Right to Education Act they are qualified as part of the twenty-five percent enrollment quota reserved for students belonging to marginalized groups.

According to Telegraph India, the directorate of education issued a notification that read, “In exercise of powers conferred by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009…the Lt-Governor of Delhi is pleased to notify inclusion of a ‘transgender’ child within the meaning of ‘child’ belonging to a ‘disadvantaged group’ to all schools situated within the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

A New Delhi government official told press that the certificates required to prove their status as a disadvantaged student will be issued by the Health Department.

In April 2014, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the introduction and legal recognition of a third gender category, and directed state and federal governments to include transgender people in all welfare programs for the poor, including health care, education, and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges, as India’s legally recognized “other backward classes” (OBC) are entitled to. The apex court stated that they will run a public awareness campaign against social stigma as well.

In September, the federal government asked the Supreme Court to clarify its order, and reconsider its decision to classify all LGBT people as third gender.

Additionally, the government claimed that not all transgender people can so easily be classified as belonging to OBC, as many will have been born into higher castes—thus disqualifying them from affirmative action programs intended for marginalized groups.

According to India’s 2011 census, the country has 490,000 transgender citizens.

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