Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Higher Education Department has directed all the Registrars and principals of universities and degree colleges to adhere to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) advisory in order to ensure the safety of the transgenders on campuses.

In the letter, the department requested the educational institutes to protect gender non-conforming students from bullying, harassment or other forms of violence in their respective jurisdictions.

The department also directed to form monitoring committee cells at educational institutes to address prejudices, discrimination, sexual abuse and other violence against transgenders.

As per the department, gender-neutral facilities should be provided at all higher educational institutions including unisex toilets and restrooms.

The NHRC, in a letter to the Secretaries in the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories on September 26, had asked for the implementation of its recommendations in letter and spirit, and sought Action Taken Report within two months.

In the Advisory, the Commission observed that one of the primary concerns faced by transgender persons in the country is that despite the legal advancements, they continue to grapple with discrimination at various places like employment disparities, limited access to healthcare, and exclusion from social circles.