NALSAR varsity issues first 'gender-neutral' degree in India

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 21, 2015 18:12 IST

In a first, the NALSAR Law University in Hyderabad has issued a gender-neutral graduation certificate to a student who did not wish to be identified with honorific Mr or Ms but with "Mx".

Anindita Mukherjee, who graduated this year from the law school, had requested the authorities to address her as "Mx" in her certificates and the university, which has probably become the first Indian educational institution to do so, accepted the "fact".

Mukherjee also prefers to be addressed as "they" rather than "he" or "she".

"The university sent us our provisional transcripts and asked us to email back within a week with any corrections we might want in it. I responded with a request for the honorific to be corrected," Mukherjee told PTI.

"I felt that there was no reason why my transcript needed to mention my gender. Besides, law universities are the spaces where we are constantly discussing justice, rights and identity, so I wanted to see if the university would walk the talk on that point.

"Mx being a gender-neutral honorific that has been gaining traction, I asked if my transcript could refer to me as 'Mx Anindita Mukherjee' instead of 'Ms Anindita Mukherjee'," Mukherjee added.

After Supreme Court last year acknowledged transgenders as the 'third gender', many institutions including Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Bangalore University among others had introduced the option of choosing the transgender category in their admission forms. However, none of these have come out with a policy yet for students enrolling in the category.

NALSAR convenor of the academics and examinations committee, Amita Dhanda said, "We as an institution have also not taken a policy decision yet but we found nothing objectionable in the student's request. In the near future, the university will also be exploring formulation or implementation of such a policy".

"Being a university of Law we definitely advocate what is legal but this case was treated as a matter of fact and we came up with this 'creatively interpreted decision' maintaining harmony with both social and scientific understanding.

This is a small step to recognise both gender fluidity and self identification," she added.

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