A 30-year-old teacher, Suchitra Dey, who underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2017 and changed her name from Hiranmay Dey, was harassed during an interview at a school in Kolkata. “In one of the interviewers at well-known Kolkata-based school, the male Principal asked me if I can bear a child, he also asked me if my breasts are real,” said Suchitra, Indian Express reported.

Suchitra has double MAs ( Geography and English) and a BEd degree to her credit. Little did she know that her qualifications wouldn’t be enough for her to get a decent job.

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 “My educational qualification or 10 years of experience did not matter to them. When they looked at me, all they could see was a man who transformed into a woman. Nothing else mattered because if one belongs to third gender in this country, ridicule is a way of life.” -Suchitra

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“One of the interviewers at a well-known Kolkata school asked me to wear male outfits because all my mark sheets and certificates say that I am a man. In each of these interviews, I faced the worst kind of humiliation. The male principal of one of these schools asked me whether I can bear a child. He also asked me if my breasts are real. Would these questions be asked if I wasn’t a transgender woman?” Suchitra added.

The Supreme Court had formally ruled and recognised the transgender people and created a “third gender” category for them. Transgender people thus have equal rights. The apex court had announced, in support of the transgender community, that they would be allowed admission in any educational institutions and can seek jobs under the third gender category.

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Disappointed Suchitra wrote to the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) on June 11 about the treatment she received. “I couldn’t handle the humiliation anymore. The things I have been asked by authorities at ‘reputed’ schools of Kolkata shows the kind of mindset people still hold about our community. If someone like me, who is educated and experienced, has to face this then imagine the plight of those who don’t have the opportunity to go to school, or the ones who have been ostracised,” Suchitra said.

“If someone like me, who is educated and experienced, has to face this then imagine the plight of those who don’t have the opportunity to go to school, or the ones who have been ostracised.”

Nirmal Chandra Sarkar, assistant secretary of WBHRC, said, “All our petitions are placed before the commission, which passes an order. We can only implement the order. Later, if an inquiry is required, we will follow the necessary process and a letter will be sent back to the complainant about the course of action.”

Suchitra started teaching at a school in Kolkata’s Thakurpukur area, before her surgery, and is still employed there. “Everyone there has always been extremely cooperative. The management was happy to let me rejoin after the surgery. And I finally started leading my life as a woman. I currently teach students from classes V to X,” she said.

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Feature Image Credit: Indian Express

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