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Kolkata schools asked humiliating questions about breasts and conceiving during interview, claims transgender teacher

Kolkata: While the LGBT community across the world is busy celebrating "Pride Month", a Kolkata-based transwoman's account of how she was asked questions about her breasts, sexuality and ability to give birth during interviews for a teacher's post has again brought into the open the attitude towards sexual minorities in the country.

Hiranmay Dey, who underwent a Sex Reassignment Surgery last year and became Suchitra Dey, said she was humiliated by the interviewers in various Kolkata schools.

"Principals of reputable Kolkata schools asked me irrelevant and humiliating questions about my gender and sexuality, instead of asking me pertinent questions on my subject.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"A male principal asked me whether I can conceive a child after intercourse while a lady principal in another reputable city school almost threatened me to change the credentials if I wanted a job there," Dey, a double Masters in English and Geography, told IANS over phone.

Ironically, the unsavoury experience Dey went though earlier this month coincided with the celebrations of the "Pride Month" that commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots in the US and is considered a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement.

"I see that the mindset of people about transgenders has not changed yet. Teachers are considered future generation makers. If the educated people have this kind of mindset then what should one expect from the commoners?" she asked.

Dey, an active member of the LGBT forums in Kolkata, said the condition of transpeople in West Bengal is vulnerable and urged the society to accept the sexual minorities like her with more humility.

"The condition of transgenders in Bengal is really vulnerable. A large section of the LGBT population comprises transgenders. I think I am one of the most educated transgenders in the whole of India. If I have to face such bias and discrimination, imagine the situation of others," said Dey, a Thakurpukur resident.

"I think people like us should come out of the cocoon and express themselves. Also the society should accept us with all humility and treat us on an equal plane with other genders," she said.

Vowing not to be bogged down by the bullies, the transwoman with 10 years of teaching experience at a private school here said she has written to the West Bengal Human Rights Commission seeking intervention in the matter. "Let's see what actions they take. I am waiting for their feedback."

"I live with my mother. She is an old lady. So I need a job to sustain both of us. If every section of the society rejects us, then how will we live?" she questioned.

Referring to the 2014 Supreme Court order that formally recognised transgenders by creating the 'third gender' category, she said discrimination against people like her was still rampant in the country.

"I was harassed and bullied by the interviewers openly due to my sexuality. I have been facing such humiliation from my school and college days. This is a common problem that all transgenders face. What's alarming is that even the apex court's verdict could not change the scenario. Then what is the point of the verdict?" she asked.


Updated Date: Jun 19, 2018 22:19 PM

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