45-yr-old transgender joins master’s in human rights at PU, shares life lessons | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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45-yr-old transgender joins master’s in human rights at PU, shares life lessons

To change mindsets and encourage transgenders to be progressive, 45-year-old Dhananjay, a social activist enrolled himself for a master’s degree in human rights and duties at Panjab University this session.

punjab Updated: Jul 23, 2016 14:12 IST
Monica Sharma
Transgender Dhananjay interacting with her classmates at the Centre for Human Rights and Duties at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Transgender Dhananjay interacting with her classmates at the Centre for Human Rights and Duties at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Friday. (Anil Dayal/HT Photo)

To change mindsets and encourage transgenders to be progressive, 45-year-old Dhananjay, a social activist enrolled himself for a master’s degree in human rights and duties at Panjab University this session.

She is first transgender student at PU since the varsity changed its admission form to admit the ‘third gender’ in 2015.

Dhananjay, who already holds a master’s degree in social work, graduated from Government College, Sector 46, in the 1990s under the male category.

“At the time, people were not even aware of the term transgender. We could not out in the open and talk about our identity,” he says.

“Education is the best way to change the outlook of the society. While studying human rights, I will try to bring awareness about the transgender community. Transgenders should not suffer or feel inferior. Social acceptance is a must to ensure that we are not looked down upon, mocked or judged. My body and identity does not match but that gives nobody the right to judge me,” she told HT.

“I believe transgenders should come forward and get education in colleges and universities like others to progress,” he adds. (Anil Dayal/HT Photo)

In Class, Dhananjay is not treated differently by any of his classmates. Sharing his story, Dhananjay says that his parents used to think that he was a shy boy and would happily help his mother in household chores. He adds that his parents married him in the hope that it would transform him into a ‘normal’ man.

“I am a woman from inside trapped in a wrong body,” she adds.

Dhananjay is also associated with a community-based organisation Saksham Trust, that has around 3,000 members and works for transgender rights.

He says, “As per Aadhaar card details, there are 1,600 transgenders in Chandigarh.”

“I believe transgenders should come forward and get education in colleges and universities like others to progress,” he adds.

Dhananjay, who was born to a driver, “I have two children, son (23) and daughter (20). My kids and my wife have supported me throughout and always stand by me.”

His fellow students Navreet Kaur and Sabah Chhiber said, “We don’t find anything different in her. One of our teachers remarked that now the class is complete with his presence.”

Meanwhile, Delhi University had also introduced an option of choosing the transgender category in its admission form for post-graduate courses. Bangalore University too, had modified its application form to include the category.

To join parade

Dhananjay is also going to represent Chandigarh at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) parade scheduled in Netherlands in the next two months. He has been organising LGBT drive in the city for last three years.