Imphal: DM College of Arts, one of Manipur’s premier colleges, has admitted their first transgender student. Mx Sandra Nandeibam , makes gender history by becoming the first Northeasern transgender to enrol in a Manipur College. In fact, Mx Nandeibam and DM College have made Northeastern gender history !
The college provided three columns to identify the applicants’ gender- male, female and transgender. Sandra ticked the “transgender” column and got admission.
Born Nandeibam Sandeep, Sandra identifies as ‘she’ will works as a brand ambassador during a three-month campaign to promote transgender rights.
Sandra will be the brand ambassador for a three-month campaign named Sanagi Likphang ( gold chain) being organised by Sana Ebemma, an Imphal-based NGO, working on issues pertaining to children.
The campaign will begin on October 25. A series of events, including a pride walk, panel discussion, workshop and fashion parade, among other events, would be organised during the campaign promoting transgender rights.
“This is the first time that any educational institution in Manipur has provided ‘transgender’ columns in its admission forms. This will encourage transgenders to come out and pursue higher studies,” Shanta Khurai, secretary of the All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association, said.
Shanta said there are about 10 transgenders in Manipur colleges, but they had to choose the “male” category as a “transgender” option was not provided in any admission form before. The college said it was following UGC guidelines.
ANMNA, a community based organisation, played a major role in the college giving recognition to transgenders and also Sandra’s admission.
The initiative, taken by the college after the Supreme Court’s judgment on transgender rights, was a new and positive approach for the community and would help stem the dropout rate by transgenders, Shanta said. She added that the association had sensitized schools and colleges on transgender inclusion and had received positive vibes from some of the schools who promised to include the third gender option on admission forms by the next academic session.
“The college recognising my transgender status is an encouragement for me and all transgenders in Manipur. I feel reborn and am looking forward to inspiring others to come forward and assert their identities during the campaign,” Sandra said.
Shanta said most of the transgender population in Manipur either drop out of school or drop the idea of going to college because of “harassment” from classmates and even their own families.
In a rare case, the family has been supporting Sandra’s choice of gender.
Sandra said she had to endure physical assaults and mental torture in the last school she had attended. She identified herself as a male during admission to the school as there was no “transgender” column in the admission form and wore a boy’s school uniform.
Sandra is also looking forward to the opening of the college session on July 10. She will wear the college uniform of her choice a deep blue phanek (full length skirt) and white shirt.