One battle won, many left for Mumbai University’s first transgender graduate
Sridevi was the first MU student to officially identify herself as transgender. She enrolled in a BA course at IDOL in 2015-16, the year MU introduced a ‘Transgender’ column separately, apart from the ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ columns.Updated: Oct 13, 2019 08:14 IST
Three years ago, Sridevi made history when she became the first student of the University of Mumbai (MU) to identify herself as a transgender. Today, she proudly holds a BA degree in Sociology and Psychology from MU’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL).
The Hindustan Times had, in February 2017, reported that Sridevi was the first MU student to officially identify herself as transgender. She enrolled in a BA course at IDOL in 2015-16, the year MU introduced a ‘Transgender’ column separately, apart from the ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ columns.
Although Sridevi is now a graduate, she said she struggled to find a job in the mainstream for a few months.
“Graduation is only one battle won. People are still apprehensive of giving a job to a transwoman,” said Sridevi, who turned 36 on Thursday.
She has also completed short-term courses in interior designing. “Currently, I am working as a CAD designer for an electronics company and teaching children at a non-government organisation (NGO),” she said.
The job at the electronics company has come after multiple rejections elsewhere. “I want to start my own enterprise. I don’t know business yet, but at least I will not have to depend on others for a job,” said Sridevi, who left home two years ago and has been living in a shanty in Malad. “When I was living with my family, they were embarrassed of me. They kept me locked in the house. I have a brain. I have every right to live a life, have aspirations. Once I left home, I didn’t look back,” she said. Amid adversities, Sridevi trudges on. “For the sake of the trans-sisterhood,” she said.
“Minorities have thrived on the fringes for ever. Now it is upon people like us, who are moving forward, educating ourselves, to drive the message forward that everyone is equal. To my trans-sisters I say, it is not your own fight, it is a fight for the sisterhood,” said Sridevi, who has now taken admission for an MA in Psychology at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (iGNOU).
According to Vinod Malale, spokesperson for IDOL, “Sridevi is the first student to identify as a transgender. We may have had transgender students earlier, but they didn’t or couldn’t identify themselves because of the system. After Sridevi, we haven’t seen many other students come forward and identify as transgender.”