Meet Deepa Buddhe, First Transgender Person in Karnataka To Pursue PhD at Mysuru Uni

Deepa Buddhe
Deepa Buddhe HG has become the first transgender PhD student in Karnataka. The 32-year-old is enrolled in a programme at the University of Mysuru and is currently completing her first year of research. A resident of Chamarajnagar district in the state, she first became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the aid she lent to the sexual and gender minority communities during the lockdown.

After completing her Master’s in Ambedkar Studies, Deepa started her PhD under the guidance of her mentor J Somashkehar and her thesis is about transgender communities of the twin districts of Mysuru and Chamarajnagar, their lives and struggles.

Deepa was assigned male at birth who was born to parents Gurusiddhaiah and Mahadevamma; she grew up with four sisters. She reportedly was in grade 7 when she and her family recognised her gender identity.

Speaking about her family, she said, “My parents used to love and look after me very well. But they started rejecting me after they came to know that I am a transgender. When I was studying in PU, I decided to walk away from the family and joined my community.” She said that she had not seen her family for over 12 years now.

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Deepa completed her pre-university education at a government college while working part-time at Samatha Society, a transgender persons’ welfare organisation. She rose through the ranks in the organisation and also rose to the position of treasurer for the Karnataka State Sexual Minority Forum.

In 2015, reportedly, she had to drop out of college because she was humiliated, and bullied for being a trans person. However, she eventually completed her graduation and in 2018 was admitted to a Master’s course.

The PhD student had fought with the college administration so she could enrol as a transgender person and succeeded as well. She has been pursuing her research for a year now. She was quoted saying, “I secured the highest marks in my department. So, I decided to pursue PhD and cleared the entrance and now I am pursuing research since April last year.”

The PhD researcher said that once she receives her doctorate, she will become an educator to educate and empower younger trans persons. “Education is the key to empowerment and that’s why I started doing research,” she was quoted as saying.

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